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Sportverletz Sportschaden. 2018 Mar;32(1):35-46. doi: 10.1055/a-0575-2324. Epub 2018 Mar 20.

[Effect of Core Muscle Strengthening Exercises (Including Plank and Side Plank) on Injury Rate in Male Adult Soccer Players: A Systematic Review].

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

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Berner Fachhochschule, Departement Gesundheit, Bern, Schweiz.


in English, German


Soccer is seen as highly intensive sport with an increased injury rate. Male adults are the players with the highest injury incidence. Accordingly, the importance of core muscle strengthening to prevent injury has increased in the past few years. Up to date, core muscle strengthening plays an important role in different prevention programs, such as the "FIFA 11 +". The aim of this systematic review was to investigate the effect of core muscle strengthening on injury rate in male adult soccer players, including at least the known and easy exercises "plank" and "side plank", on injury rate in male adult soccer players.


The databases PubMed, PEDro, Cochrane Library, SPORTDiscus and Cinahl were searched systematically. Included studies had to comprise exercises for core muscles as an intervention (as a part of a prevention program) for adult male soccer players. The control group had to continue their usual exercise routine. The exercises "plank" and "side plank" were mandatory elements of the training program. The number of injuries and/or the injury rate (per 1000 hours) were defined as outcomes. The quality of the included studies was assessed with the PEDro scale and the Risk of Bias tool.


Seven studies with 2491 participants in total could be included. Two studies found a significant decrease in the injury rate in the intervention group (p < 0.05, p < 0.001 respectively). In two studies, no significance level was reported, but the training showed preventive effects in the intervention group. In the other three studies, no significant changes in the injury rate were found (p > 0.05).


The seven included studies differed greatly with respect to the applied methods, the chosen interventions and the obtained results. Furthermore, core muscles were never trained separately but were always part of a program containing other preventive elements. Therefore, it was difficult to compare the studies. However, prevention programs including strengthening exercises for core muscles tend to positively affect the injury rate. Based on the literature found, the research question cannot definitively be answered. In the future, further studies are needed which investigate the effect of isolated core muscle training on the injury rate of soccer players.


Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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