The Influence of Touchdown Parameters on the Performance of a High Jumper

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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In order to maximize the mass center vertical velocity at toe-off and thereby jump height the approach parameters in high jumping must be optimized. The present study aimed to determine the influence on jump height of the approach speed, the leg plant angle, and the knee angle at touchdown. Sixteen trials by an elite male high jumper were recorded in a single training session. Direct intervention was used to induce a change in technique so that a greater range in approach speed was obtained than was observed in competition. The optimum approach was shown to be fast (7.0 m · s–1) with the leg planted away from the vertical (34°) and with minimum knee flexion. A regression equation was obtained which was able to account for 79% of the observed variation in jump height. Jump height performance was shown to be most sensitive to changes in leg plant angle and knee angle at touchdown.

M.P. Greig is with the Sports Biomechanics Laboratory in the Department of Sports Science at the University of Hull, HU6 7RX, UK. M.R. Yeadon is with the Sports Biomechanics Laboratory in the Department of Sports Science at Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK.

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