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J Biomech, 2012; 45(10): 1816-22, PMID: 22552158

Leg stiffness can be maintained during reactive hopping despite modified acceleration conditions.

Year: 2012

Kramer A, Ritzmann R, Gruber M, Gollhofer A
IfSS der Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany; Department of Sport Science, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.


AIM: The aim of the present study was to evaluate reactive hops under systematically modified acceleration conditions. It was hypothesized that a high preactivity of the leg extensors and phase-specific adjustments of the leg muscle activation would compensate the alterations caused by the various acceleration levels in order to maintain a high leg stiffness, thus enabling the jumper to perform truly reactive jumps with short ground contact times despite the unaccustomed acceleration conditions. METHODS: Ground reaction forces (GRF), kinematic and electromyographic data of 20 healthy subjects were recorded during reactive hopping in a special sledge jump system for seven different acceleration levels: three acceleration levels with lower than normal gravity (0.7g, 0.8g, 0.9g), one with gravitational acceleration (1g) and three with higher acceleration (1.1g, 1.2g, 1.3g). RESULTS: The increase of the acceleration from 0.7g to 1.3g had no significant effect on the preactivity of the leg extensors, the leg stiffness and the rate of force development. However, it resulted in increased peak GRF (+15%), longer ground contact time (+10%) and increased angular excursion at the ankle and knee joints (+3 degrees ). DISCUSSION: Throughout a wide acceleration range, the subjects were able to maintain a high leg stiffness and perform reactive hops by keeping the preactivity constantly high and adjusting the muscle activity in the later phases. In consequence, it can be concluded that the neuromuscular system can cope with different acceleration levels, at least in the acceleration range used in this study.

GID: 2998; Last update: 20.06.2012