Although leg spring stiffness represents active muscular recruitment of the lower extremity during dynamic tasks such as hopping and running, the joint-specific characteristics comprising the damping portion of this measure, leg impedance, are uncertain. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the relationship between leg impedance and energy absorption at the ankle, knee, and hip during early (impact) and late (stabilization) phases of landing. Twenty highly trained female dancers (age = 20.3 ± 1.4 years, height = 163.7 ± 6.0 cm, mass = 62.1 ± 8.1 kg) were instrumented for biomechanical analysis. Subjects performed three sets of double-leg landings from under preferred, stiff, and soft landing conditions. A stepwise linear regression analysis revealed that ankle and knee energy absorption at impact, and knee and hip energy absorption during the stabilization phases of landing explained 75.5% of the variance in leg impedance. The primary predictor of leg impedance was knee energy absorption during the stabilization phase, independently accounting for 55% of the variance. Future validation studies applying this regression model to other groups of individuals are warranted.
Athletic Training Education Program, 251 Ward Sports Medicine Building, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858
Applied Neuromechanics Research Laboratory, 238 Health and Human Performance Building, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402
Athletic Training Education Program, 213 Woodward Center, Westfield State College, Westfield, MA 01086.