A systematic review of the importance of hip muscle strength, activation, and structure in balance and mobility tasks

Published:January 04, 2022DOI:



      The aim of this systematic review was to identify the associations of the hip abductor muscle strength, structure, and/or neuromuscular activation on balance and mobility in younger, middle-aged, and older adults.

      Data Sources

      We followed PRISMA guidelines and performed searches in PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and Physiotherapy Evidence Database.

      Study Selection

      Study selection included: a) age ≥18 yrs; and b) measured hip abduction torque, surface electromyography and/or muscle structure and related these measures with balance or mobility outcomes.

      Data Extraction

      The extracted data included the study population, setting, sample size, sex, measurement evaluated.

      Data Syntheses

      The present systematic review is comprised of 59 research articles with 2144 (1337 females) young, middle-aged, and older adults. We found that hip abductor strength is critical for balance and mobility function, independent of age. Hip abductor neuromuscular activation is also important for balance and mobility, although it may differ across ages depending on the task. Finally, the amount of fat inside the muscle appears to be one of the important factors of muscle structure influencing balance.


      In conclusion, a change in all investigated variables (hip abduction torque, neuromuscular activation, and intramuscular fat) appears to have an impact during balance or mobility tasks across age ranges and may elicit better performance. Future studies are necessary to confirm the impact of these variables across the age range and the effects of interventions.


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