An investigation of lower limb joint powers as a predictive measure of countermovement vertical jump height.
Epp-Stobbe, Amarah J.
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Measuring and tracking athletic performance is crucial to an athlete’s development and the countermovement vertical jump is often used to measure athletic performance, particularly lower limb power. The linear power developed in the lower limb is estimated through jump height. However, the relationship between angular power, produced by the joints of the lower limb, and jump height is not well understood. This study examined the contributions of the kinetic value of angular power, and its kinematic component, angular velocity, of the lower limb joints to jump height in the countermovement vertical jump. Kinematic and kinetic data were gathered from twenty varsity-level basketball and volleyball athletes as they performed six maximal effort jumps in four arm swing conditions: no-arm involvement, single-non-dominant arm swing, single-dominant arm swing, and two-arm swing. The displacement of the whole body centre of mass, peak joint powers, peak angular velocity, and locations of the peaks as a percentage of the jump’s takeoff period, were computed. Linear regressions assessed the relationship of the variables to jump height. Results demonstrated that knee peak power (p = 0.001, ß = 0.363, r = 0.363), its location within takeoff period (p = 0.023, ß = -0.256, r = 0.256), and peak knee peak angular velocity (p = 0.005, ß = 0.310, r = 0.310) were moderately linked to increased jump height. Additionally, the location, within the takeoff period, of the peak angular velocities of the hip (p = 0.003, ß = -0.318, r = 0.419) and ankle (p = 0.011, ß = 0.270, r = 0.419) were positively linked to jump height. These results highlight the importance of training the velocity and timing of joint motion beyond traditional power training protocols as well as the importance of further investigation into appropriate testing protocol that is sensitive to the contributions by individual joints in maximal effort jumping.