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Acta Physiol Scand. 1981 Feb;111(2):135-40.

Prestretch potentiation of human skeletal muscle during ballistic movement.


The conditions associated prior to and during the transition from prestretch to shortening may have considerable influence on the final performance of muscle. In the present study male subjects of good physical condition performed vertical jumps on the force-platform with and without preliminary counter movement. In the counter movement jump (CMJ) the amplitude of the knee bending, velocity of the prestretch and the force attained at end of prestretch were the primary parameters of interest. In addition the coupling time indicating the transition from the eccentric (prestretch) phase to the concentric phase was recorded from the angular displacement and reaction force curves. In the final calculation the mechanical performance parameters of CMJ were always compared with those of the jumps performed without counter movement. The results indicated in general first that CMJ enhanced the average concentric force and average mechanical power by 423 N (66%) and 1158 W (81%), respectively. This potentiation effect was the higher the higher was the force at end of prestretch (p less than 0.001). Similarly, the prestretch speed (p less than 0.001) and short coupling time (p less than 0.01) were associated with enhanced performance during the concentric phase. The average coupling time was 23 ms. The results are interpreted through changes in the prestretch conditions to modify the acto-myosin cross-bridge formation so that the storage and utilization of elastic energy is associated with high prestretch speed, high eccentric force and short coupling time. The role of the reflex potentiation is also suggested as additional enhancement of the final performance.

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