To our knowledge jumping kinematics have never been studied in elderly persons. This study was aimed at examining the influence of aging on vertical jump performance and on interjoint coordination. Two groups of adults, 11 young men ages 18–25 years and 11 older men ages 79–100 years, were filmed while performing a maximal squat jump. Compared to young adults, jump height was significantly decreased by 28 cm in the elderly. Older adults spontaneously jumped from a more extended position of the hip. Results showed a decrease in hip, knee, and ankle linear velocity and angular amplitude with aging. The decrease in jump height was attributed to a decrease in explosive force and in the range of shortening of extensor muscles. In agreement with the literature, a proximo-distal coordination pattern was observed in young adults. Older adults used a simultaneous pattern. This may indicate that adults adjust their pattern of joint coordination as they age.
The authors are with the Center for Sport Research and Innovation, University Claude Bernard–Lyon 1, 27-29, Bd du 11 Novembre 1918, 69622 Villeurbanne Cedex, France.