Biomechanical and neuromuscular performance requirements of horizontal deceleration: a review with implications for random intermittent multi‑directional sports

Review written by Dr Carlo Wood info

Key Points

  1. Horizontal decelerations require braking forces quickly to enable reductions in momentum. It requires a coordinated sequence of leg movements and postural adjustments. It has high impact peaks and loading rates.
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High-intensity decelerations occur more frequently than similarly intense accelerations in multi-directional sports. They impose a large braking impulse with predominant eccentric muscle action to absorb force. This generates higher mechanical forces and a ground reaction force (GRF) with a higher impact peak force and loading rate. They impose ~41% greater mechanical load per meter than similarly intense accelerations. They are a strong contributor to muscle damage and non-contact ACL injury.

The aims of this article were: (1) conduct an evidence-based review of the biomechanical demands of horizontal deceleration and (2) identify currently known biomechanical and neuromuscular performance (NMP) determinants.

High-intensity decelerations impose ~41% greater mechanical load per meter than similarly intense accelerations.
Training interventions that can enhance reactive and eccentric strength are important considerations for enhancing horizontal deceleration.


  • Articles were retrieved from PubMed and MEDLINE databases, Google Scholar and bibliographic searches of relevant articles.
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