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J Sports Sci. 2016;34(9):829-35. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1075055. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

A comparison of methods to determine bilateral asymmetries in vertical leg stiffness.

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a Institute of Sports Science and Physical Activity Research , University of Bedfordshire , Bedford , United Kingdom.


Whilst the measurement and quantification of vertical leg stiffness (Kvert) asymmetry is of important practical relevance to athletic performance, literature investigating bilateral asymmetry in Kvert is limited. Moreover, how the type of task used to assess Kvert may affect the expression of asymmetry has not been properly determined. Twelve healthy males performed three types of performance tasks on a dual force plate system to determine Kvert asymmetries; the tasks were (a) bilateral hopping, (b) bilateral drop jumping and (c) unilateral drop jumping. Across all the three methods, Kvert was significantly different between compliant and stiff limbs (P < 0.001) with a significant interaction effect between limb and method (P = 0.005). Differences in Kvert between compliant and stiff limbs were -5.3% (P < 0.001), -21.8% (P = 0.007) and -15.1% (P < 0.001) for the bilateral hopping, bilateral drop jumping and unilateral drop jumping methods, respectively. All the three methods were able to detect significant differences between compliant and stiff limbs, and could be used as a diagnostic tool to assess Kvert asymmetry. Drop jumping tasks detected larger Kvert asymmetries than hopping, suggesting that asymmetries may be expressed to a greater extent in acyclic, maximal performance tasks.


Leg-spring behaviour; centre of mass displacement; spring-mass model

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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