In elite fencers, muscle strength and muscle mass of the front leg (FL) are greater than those of the back leg (BL) due to characteristic physiological and biomechanical demands placed on each leg during fencing. However, the development of laterality in their neural and muscular components is not well-understood. The present study investigated neuromuscular characteristics of FL and BL in junior fencers. Nineteen junior fencers performed neuromuscular performance tests for FL and BL, separately. There were no significant differences in the isometric knee extension strength (MVC), unilateral vertical jump (UVJ), vastus lateralis muscle thickness (MT), or motor unit firing rate of the vastus lateralis muscle (MUFR) between FL and BL (p > 0.05). In subgroup analyses, a significantly greater MUFR in FL than BL was noted only in fencers with > 3 years of fencing experience, and significantly greater UVJ in FL than BL was observed solely in fencers with < 3 years of fencing experience (p < 0.05). Strong positive correlations between FL and BL were identified in MVC, MT, and MUFR in fencers with > 3 years of fencing experience, but not in those with < 3 years of experience. These findings suggest that in junior fencers, laterality in neuromuscular performance has not manifested, whereas longer fencing experience induces fencing-dependent laterality in neural components, and laterality in dynamic muscle strength is decreased with fencing experience.
- High-density surface electromyography
- Motor unit
- Vertical jump
- Youth athletes
ASJC Scopus subject areas