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J Strength Cond Res. 2004 Nov;18(4):787-91.

The maximal and submaximal vertical jump: implications for strength and conditioning.

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Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.


The vertical jump is a widely used activity to develop explosive strength, particularly in plyometric and maximal power training programs. It is a multijoint action that requires substantial muscular effort from primarily the ankle, knee, and hip joints. It is not known if submaximal performances of a vertical jump have a proportional or differential training effect on the major lower-limb muscles compared to maximal jump performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the contribution that each of the major lower-limb joints makes to vertical jump performance as jump height increases and to comment on the previously mentioned uncertainty. Adult males (N = 20) were asked to perform a series of submaximal (LOW and HIGH) and maximal (MAX) vertical jumps while using an arm swing. Force, motion, and electromyographical data were recorded during each performance and used to compute a range of kinematic and kinetic data, including ankle, knee, and hip joint torques, powers, and work done. It was found that the contribution to jump height made by the ankle and knee joints remains largely unchanged as jump height increases (work done at the ankle: LOW =1.80, HIGH = 1.97, MAX = 2.06, F = 3.596, p = 0.034; knee: LOW = 1.62, HIGH = 1.77, MAX = 1.94, F = 1.492, p = 0.234) and that superior performance in the vertical jump is achieved by a greater effort of the hip extensor muscles (work done at the hip: LOW = 1.03, HIGH = 1.84, MAX = 3.24, F = 110.143, p < 0.001). It was concluded that the role of submaximal and maximal jumps can be differentiated in terms of their effect on ankle, knee, and hip joint muscles and may be of some importance to training regimens in which these muscles need to be differentially trained.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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