Author(s): Arampatzis A, Schade F, Walsh M, Brggemann GP
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Abstract The purposes of this study are: a) to examine the possibility of influencing the leg stiffness through instructions given to the subjects and b) to determine the effect of the leg stiffness on the mechanical power and take-off velocity during the drop jumps. A total of 15 athletes performed a series of drop jumps from heights of 20, 40 and 60 cm. The instructions given to the subjects were a) "jump as high as you can" and b) "jump high a little faster than your previous jump". The jumps were performed at each height until the athlete could not achieve a shorter ground contact time. The ground reaction forces were measured using a "Kistler" force plate (1000 Hz). The athletes body positions were recorded using a high speed (250 Hz) video camera. EMG was used to measure muscle activity in five leg muscles. The data was divided into 5 groups where group 1 was made up of the longest ground contact times of each athlete and group 5 the shortest. The leg and ankle stiffness values were higher when the contact times were shorter. This means that by influencing contact time through verbal instructions it is possible to control leg stiffness. Maximum center of mass take-off velocity the can be achieved with different levels of leg stiffness. The mechanical power acting on the human body during the positive phase of the drop jumps had the highest values in group 3. This means that there is an optimum stiffness value for the lower extremities to maximize mechanical power.
This article was published in J Electromyogr Kinesiol
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies