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Elizabeth J. Bradshaw and W.A. Sparrow

Adjustments to gait were examined when positioning the foot within a narrow target at the end of an approach for two impact conditions, hard and soft. Participants (6 M, 6 F) ran toward a target of three lengths along a 10-m walkway consisting of two marker strips with alternating black and white 0.5-m markings. Five trials were conducted for each target length and impact task, with trials block randomized between the 6 participants of each gender. A 50Hz digital video camera panned and filmed each trial from an elevated position adjacent to the walkway. Video footage was digitized to deduce the gait characteristics. A linear speed/accuracy tradeoff between target length and approach time was found for both impact tasks (hard, r = 0.99, p < 0.01; soft, r = 0.96, p < 0.05). For the hard-impact task, visual control time increased linearly (r = 0.99, p < 0.05) when whole-body approach velocity decreased. Visual control time was unaffected by whole-body approach velocity in the soft-impact task. A constant tau-margin of 1.08 describes the onset of visual control when approaching a target while running, with the control of braking during visual control described by a tau-dot of –0.85. Further research is needed to examine the control of braking in different targeting tasks.

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Elizabeth J. Bradshaw and W.A. Sparrow

The study examined adjustments to gait when positioning the foot within a narrow target area at the end of an approach or “run-up” similar to the take-off board in long jumping. In one task, participants (n = 24) sprinted toward and placed their foot within targets of four different lengths for 8-m and 12-m approach distances while “running through” the target. In a second task, participants (n = 12) sprinted toward and stopped with both feet in the target area. Infra-red timing lights were placed along the approach strip to measure movement times, with a camera positioned to view the whole approach to measure the total number of steps, and a second camera placed to view the final stride, which was analyzed using an in-house digitizing system to calculate the final stride characteristics. In the run-through task, a speed-accuracy trade-off showing a linear relationship (r = 0.976, p < .05) between target length and approach time was found for the 8-m amplitude. An accelerative sub-movement and a later targeting or “homing-in” sub-movement were found in the approach kinematics for both amplitudes. Final stride duration increased, and final stride velocity decreased with a decrease in target length.

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Morgan D. Williams, Elizabeth J. Bradshaw, and Wayne E. Maschette

This study assessed measurement agreement of jump-height measures derived from a portable forceplate sampling at 500 Hz. Female (n = 42) and male (n = 30) participants (total N = 72, age = 19.7 ± 2.8 y, height = 174.5 ± 9.3 cm, mass = 71.4 ± 12.8 kg) performed 25 separate maximal jump attempts. This incorporated 5 sets of 5 single jumps. One minute of rest was allowed between jump attempts, with a 3-min rest period between sets. For each participant, the best jump height for each set of 5 jumps was kept for analysis. No systematic bias was identified, and the best jump height was stable within participants across all 5 sets of jumps. Therefore, factors such as fatigue and learning did not affect the measures. Females did jump lower (P = < .0001) than their male counterparts, justifying additional analysis of agreement for the 2 gender groups. Heteroscedasticity was found, so ratio limits of agreement (LOAs) were calculated by using the antilog of the log-transformed data. The calculated ratio LOAs were ×/÷ 1.08 for the total group, ×/÷ 1.08 for females, and ×/÷ 1.08 for males. From the calculated ratio LOA, the jump protocol was shown to provide stable measures of jump height. In addition, the ratio LOA can be helpful to interpret findings from research that report jump height derived from the same protocol and assessing participants from the studied population (ie, active university-age male, female, or combined-gender groups).

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Corey W. Joseph, Elizabeth J. Bradshaw, Justin Kemp, and Ross A. Clark

A number of methods are used to measure lower extremity musculoskeletal stiffness, but there is a paucity of research examining the reliability of these techniques. Therefore, we investigated the reliability of vertical, leg, knee, and ankle stiffness during overground running and hopping in 20 active men. Participants were required to run on a 10 m overground runway at 3.83 m/s (actual; 3.35 ± 0.12 m/s) and to hop in place at 2.2 Hz (actual; 2.37 ± 0.03 Hz), and at a self-selected frequency (actual; 2.05 ± 0.12 Hz) and at 2.2 Hz (actual; 2.39 ± 0.04 Hz). Reliability was determined using the intraclass correlation coefficient, coefficient of variation, mean differences, and Cohen’s effect sizes. There was good reliability for vertical stiffness, moderate reliability for leg stiffness, and poor reliability for knee and ankle stiffness during the running task. Similar results were observed during the 2.2 Hz hopping tasks, with good reliability displayed for vertical stiffness and poor reliability for ankle and knee stiffness. In conclusion, our results suggest that vertical stiffness is a reliable measure when running at 3.83 m/s and hopping at 2.2 Hz.