Lower-Extremity Biomechanics and Maintenance of Vertical-Jump Height During Prolonged Intermittent Exercise

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Randy J. Schmitz
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John C. Cone
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Timothy J. Copple
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Robert A. Henson
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Sandra J. Shultz
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Context:

Potential biomechanical compensations allowing for maintenance of maximal explosive performance during prolonged intermittent exercise, with respect to the corresponding rise in injury rates during the later stages of exercise or competition, are relatively unknown.

Objective:

To identify lower-extremity countermovement-jump (CMJ) biomechanical factors using a principal-components approach and then examine how these factors changed during a 90-min intermittent-exercise protocol (IEP) while maintaining maximal jump height.

Design:

Mixed-model design.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Participants:

Fifty-nine intermittent-sport athletes (30 male, 29 female) participated in experimental and control conditions.

Interventions:

Before and after a dynamic warm-up and every 15 min during the 1st and 2nd halves of an individually prescribed 90-min IEP, participants were assessed on rating of perceived exertion, sprint/cut speed, and 3-dimensional CMJ biomechanics (experimental). On a separate day, the same measures were obtained every 15 min during 90 min of quiet rest (control).

Main Outcome Measures:

Univariate piecewise growth models analyzed progressive changes in CMJ performance and biomechanical factors extracted from a principal-components analysis of the individual biomechanical dependent variables.

Results:

While CMJ height was maintained during the 1st and 2nd halves, the body descended less and knee kinetic and energetic magnitudes decreased as the IEP progressed.

Conclusions:

The results indicate that vertical-jump performance is maintained along with progressive biomechanical changes commonly associated with decreased performance. A better understanding of lower-extremity biomechanics during explosive actions in response to IEP allows us to further develop and individualize performance training programs.

The authors are with the Dept of Kinesiology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC. Address author correspondence to Randy Schmitz at rjschmit@uncg.edu.

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