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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2017 Jun;27(6):661-669. doi: 10.1111/sms.12682. Epub 2016 Mar 31.

Vertical stiffness asymmetries during drop jumping are related to ankle stiffness asymmetries.

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Institute of Sports Science and Physical Activity Research, University of Bedfordshire, Bedford, UK.


Asymmetry in vertical stiffness has been associated with increased injury incidence and impaired performance. The determinants of vertical stiffness asymmetry have not been previously investigated. Eighteen healthy men performed three unilateral drop jumps during which vertical stiffness and joint stiffness of the ankle and knee were calculated. Reactive strength index was also determined during the jumps using the ratio of flight time to ground contact time. "Moderate" differences in vertical stiffness (t17  = 5.49; P < 0.001), "small" differences in center of mass displacement (t17  = -2.19; P = 0.043), and "trivial" differences in ankle stiffness (t17  = 2.68; P = 0.016) were observed between stiff and compliant limbs. A model including ankle stiffness and reactive strength index symmetry angles explained 79% of the variance in vertical stiffness asymmetry (R2  = 0.79; P < 0.001). None of the symmetry angles were correlated to jump height or reactive strength index. Results suggest that asymmetries in ankle stiffness may play an important role in modulating vertical stiffness asymmetry in recreationally trained men.


Leg-spring behavior; center of mass displacement; spring-mass model; torsional spring model

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