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Jason Lake, Mike Lauder, Neal Smith and Kathleen Shorter

This study compared differences between ballistic jump squat (B) and nonballistic back squat (NB) force, velocity, power, and relative acceleration duration, and the effect that the method used to identify the positive lifting phase had on these parameters. Ground reaction force and barbell kinematics were recorded from 30 resistance trained men during B and NB performance with 45% 1RM. Force, velocity, and power was averaged over positive lifting phases identified using the traditional peak barbell displacement (PD) and positive impulse method. No significant differences were found between B and NB mean force, and mean power, but B mean velocity was 14% greater than the NB equivalent. Positive impulse mean force was 24% greater than PD mean force, and B relative acceleration duration was 8.6% greater than the NB equivalent when PD was used to identify the end of the positive lifting phase. These results challenge common perceptions of B superiority for power development.

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John J. McMahon, Paul A. Jones, Timothy J. Suchomel, Jason Lake and Paul Comfort

Purpose: The Reactive Strength Index Modified (RSImod) has been recently identified and validated as a method of monitoring countermovement-jump (CMJ) performance. The kinetic and kinematic mechanisms that optimize a higher RSImod score are, however, currently unknown. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to compare entire CMJ force–, power–, velocity–, and displacement–time curves (termed temporal-phase analysis) of athletes who achieve high versus low RSImod scores. Methods: Fifty-three professional male rugby league players performed 3 maximal-effort CMJs on a force platform, and variables of interest were calculated via forward dynamics. The top (high RSImod group) and bottom (low RSImod group) of 20 athletes’ CMJ kinetic- and kinematic-time curves were compared. Results: The high-RSImod group (0.53 ± 0.05 vs 0.36 ± 0.03) jumped higher (37.7 ± 3.9 vs 31.8 ± 3.2 cm) with a shorter time to takeoff (TTT) (0.707 ± 0.043 vs 0.881 ± 0.122 s). This was achieved by a more rapid unweighting phase followed by greater eccentric and concentric force, velocity, and power for large portions (including peak values) of the jump, but a similar countermovement displacement. The attainment of a high RSImod score therefore required a taller, but thinner, active impulse. Conclusions: Athletes who perform the CMJ with a high RSImod, as achieved by high jumps with a short TTT, demonstrate superior force, power, velocity, and impulse during both the eccentric and concentric phases of the jump. Practitioners who include the RSImod calculation in their testing batteries may assume that greater RSImod values are attributed to an increase in these underpinning kinetic and kinematic parameters.

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Jason Lake, Peter Mundy, Paul Comfort, John J. McMahon, Timothy J. Suchomel and Patrick Carden

This study examined concurrent validity of countermovement vertical jump reactive strength index modified and force–time characteristics recorded using a 1-dimensional portable and laboratory force plate system. Twenty-eight men performed bilateral countermovement vertical jumps on 2 portable force plates placed on top of 2 in-ground force plates, both recording vertical ground reaction force at 1000 Hz. Time to takeoff; jump height; reactive strength index modified; and braking and propulsion impulse, mean net force, and duration were calculated from the vertical force from both force plate systems. Results from both systems were highly correlated (r ≥ .99). There were small (d < 0.12) but significant differences between their respective braking impulse, braking mean net force, propulsion impulse, and propulsion mean net force (P < .001). However, limits of agreement yielded a mean value of 1.7% relative to the laboratory force plate system (95% confidence limits, 0.9%–2.5%), indicating very good agreement across all of the dependent variables. The largest limits of agreement were for jump height (2.1%), time to takeoff (3.4%), and reactive strength index modified (3.8%). The portable force plate system provides a valid method of obtaining reactive strength measures, and several underpinning force–time variables, from unloaded countermovement vertical jump. Thus, practitioners can use both force plates interchangeably.