The aims of the current study were to explore the pattern of the force–velocity (F–V) relationship of leg muscles, evaluate the reliability and concurrent validity of the obtained parameters, and explore the load associated changes in the muscle work and power output. Subjects performed maximum vertical countermovement jumps with a vest ranging 0–40% of their body mass. The ground reaction force and leg joint kinematics and kinetics were recorded. The data revealed a strong and approximately linear F–V relationship (individual correlation coefficients ranged from 0.78–0.93). The relationship slopes, F- and V-intercepts, and the calculated power were moderately to highly reliable (0.67 < ICC < 0.91), while the concurrent validity F- and V-intercepts, and power with respect to the directly measured values, was (on average) moderate. Despite that a load increase was associated with a decrease in both the countermovement depth and absolute power, the absolute work done increased, as well as the relative contribution of the knee work. The obtained findings generally suggest that the loaded vertical jumps could not only be developed into a routine method for testing the capacities of leg muscles, but also reveal the mechanisms of adaptation of multijoint movements to different loading conditions.
Daniel Feeney, Steven J. Stanhope, Thomas W. Kaminski, Anthony Machi, and Slobodan Jaric are with the Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology, and the Biomechanics and Movement Science Graduate Program, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.