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Front Physiol, 2021; 12(): 643649, PMID: 33868010

Age-Related Decline in Vertical Jumping Performance in Masters Track and Field Athletes: Concomitant Influence of Body Composition.

Year: 2021

Alvero-Cruz JR, Brikis M, Chilibeck P, Frings-Meuthen P, Vico Guzman JF, Mittag U, Michely S, Mulder E, Tanaka H, Tank J, Rittweger J
Facultad de Medicina, Instituto de Investigacion Biomedica de Malaga, Universidad de Malaga, Malaga, Spain.


Vertical jumping power declines with advancing age, which is theoretically explicable by loss of muscle mass and increases in body fat. However, the results of previous cross-sectional studies remain inconsistent on these relationships. The present study included 256 masters athletes who competed at the 2018 track and field world championships in Malaga, Spain. We assessed body composition with bioelectrical impedance (Inbody S10) and vertical jumping power with a Leonardo ground reaction force platform. Relationships between age, jumping power, and body composition were analyzed by correlation and regression analyses. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to evaluate effects of each factor on vertical jumping power. Age-related rates of decreases in maximal power and jump height were similar between male and female athletes. Percent fat-free mass and percent body fat were negatively and positively, respectively, associated with age in masters athletes and were comparable to those previously observed in the general population. Moreover, these effects in body composition can, to a great extent, explain the age-related decline in jumping power, an effect that seems at least partly independent of age. Finally, the multiple regression model to determine independent predictors of vertical jump performance yielded an overall R (2) value of 0.75 with the inclusion of (1) athletic specialization in power events, (2) percent fat-free mass, and (3) phase angle. However, partial regression yielded significant effects of age, but not gender, on peak power, even when adjusting for athletic specialization, percent fat-free mass, and phase angle. We concluded that loss of skeletal muscle mass and changes in bio-impedance phase angle are important contributors to the age-related reduction in anaerobic power, even in adults who maintain high levels of physical activity into old age. However, age per se remains a significant predictor of vertical jump performance, further demonstrating deteriorated muscle quality at old age (sarcosthenia).

GID: 5393; Last update: 29.04.2021