Ultrasonography of the lower body typically encompasses supine rest due to fluid shifts affecting tissue size and composition. However, vastus lateralis (VL) examination is completed in the lateral recumbent position, and this positional change may influence morphology and its ability to predict function. This study aimed to examine the effect of position on VL morphology and its relationship with lower-body performance. Cross-sectional area (CSA), muscle thickness (MT), pennation angle (PA), echo intensity (UnCorEI), subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness (SFT), and echo intensity corrected for SFT (CorEI) were assessed in 31 resistance-trained males (23.0 ± 2.1 yrs; 1.79 ± 0.08 m; 87.4 ± 11.7 kg) immediately after transitioning from standing to supine (IP), after 15 min of standing (ST), and after 15 min of rest in three recumbent positions: supine (SUP), dominant lateral recumbent (DLR), non-dominant lateral recumbent (NDLR). Participants also completed unilateral vertical jumps, isometric/isokinetic tests, and a one-repetition maximum leg press. CSA, MT, PA, and SFT were greater in ST compared to NDLR, DLR, and SUP (p
< 0.05). CSA, UnCorEI, and CorEI were different between recumbent positions; however no differences were observed for MT, PA, and SFT. Different magnitudes of relationships were observed between muscle morphological characteristics measured after rest in different positions and performance variables. Muscle morphology in IP generally appears to be the best predictor of performance for most variables, although utilizing the NDLR and DLR positions may provide comparable results, whereas morphology measured in ST and SUP provide weaker relationships with physical performance. IP also requires less time and fewer requirements on the technician and subject, thus researchers should consider this positioning for VL examination.
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