Context: Knee joint-position sense (JPS) is a key parameter for optimum performance in many sports but is frequently negatively affected by injuries and/or fatigue during training sessions. Although evaluation of JPS may provide key information to reduce the risk of injury, it often requires expensive and/or complex tools that make monitoring proprioceptive deterioration difficult. Objective: To analyze the validity and reliability of a digital inclinometer to measure knee JPS in a closed kinetic chain (CKC). Design: The validity and intertester and intratester reliability of a digital inclinometer for measuring knee JPS were assessed. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Participants: 10 athletes (5 men and 5 women; 26.2 ± 1.3 y, 71.7 ± 12.4 kg; 1.75 ± 0.09 m; 23.5 ± 3.9 kg/m2). Intervention: Knee JPS was measured in a CKC. Main Outcome Measures: Absolute angular error (AAE) of knee JPS in a CKC. Results: Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and standard error of the mean (SEM) were calculated to determine the validity and reliability of the inclinometer. Data showed that the inclinometer had a high level of validity compared with an isokinetic dynamometer (ICC = 1.0, SEM = 1.39, P < .001), and there was very good intra- and intertester reliability for reading the inclinometer (ICC = 1.0, SEM = 0.85, P < .001). Compared with AutoCAD video analysis, inclinometer validity was very high (ICC = 0.980, SEM = 3.46, P < .001) for measuring AAE during knee JPS in a CKC. In addition, the intertester reliability of the inclinometer for obtaining AAE was very high (ICC = .994, SEM = 1.67, P < .001). Conclusion: The inclinometer provides a valid and reliable method for assessing knee JPS in a CKC. Health and sports professionals could take advantage of this tool to monitor proprioceptive deterioration in athletes.
Natalia Romero-Franco, Juan Antonio Montaño-Munuera, and Pedro Jiménez-Reyes
Jean-Benoît Morin, George Petrakos, Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Scott R. Brown, Pierre Samozino, and Matt R. Cross
Sprint running acceleration is a key feature of physical performance in team sports, and recent literature shows that the ability to generate large magnitudes of horizontal ground-reaction force and mechanical effectiveness of force application are paramount. The authors tested the hypothesis that very-heavy loaded sled sprint training would induce an improvement in horizontal-force production, via an increased effectiveness of application.
Training-induced changes in sprint performance and mechanical outputs were computed using a field method based on velocity–time data, before and after an 8-wk protocol (16 sessions of 10- × 20-m sprints). Sixteen male amateur soccer players were assigned to either a very-heavy sled (80% body mass sled load) or a control group (unresisted sprints).
The main outcome of this pilot study is that very-heavy sled-resisted sprint training, using much greater loads than traditionally recommended, clearly increased maximal horizontal-force production compared with standard unloaded sprint training (effect size of 0.80 vs 0.20 for controls, unclear between-groups difference) and mechanical effectiveness (ie, more horizontally applied force; effect size of 0.95 vs –0.11, moderate between-groups difference). In addition, 5-m and 20-m sprint performance improvements were moderate and small for the very-heavy sled group and small and trivial for the control group, respectively.
This brief report highlights the usefulness of very-heavy sled (80% body mass) training, which may suggest value for practical improvement of mechanical effectiveness and maximal horizontal-force capabilities in soccer players and other team-sport athletes.
This study may encourage further research to confirm the usefulness of very-heavy sled in this context.
Pierre Samozino, Jean Romain Rivière, Jérémy Rossi, Jean-Benoit Morin, and Pedro Jimenez-Reyes
Velocity strength training requires exercise modalities that allow athletes to reach very high movement velocity, which is limited during vertical movements involving body weight. Purpose: To quantify the mechanical outputs developed during horizontal squat jumps (HSJs), notably the movement velocity, in comparison with vertical squat jumps (SJs) with and without loads. Methods: Thirteen healthy male athletes performed SJs without additional loads (SJ0) and with a load of ∼60% of body mass (SJ60), and during HSJs performed lying on a roller device with (assisted HSJ [AHSJ]) and without (HSJ) rubber-band assistance. Instantaneous lower-limb extension velocity, force, and power output were measured and averaged over the push-off phase. Results: The force was significantly higher during SJ60 than during SJ0, which was higher than during HSJ and AHSJ. Extension velocity was significantly different across all conditions, with 0.86 (0.07), 1.29 (0.10), 1.59 (0.19), and 1.83 (0.19) m·s−1 for SJ60, SJ0, HSJ, and AHSJ conditions, respectively. Differences in force and velocity values between SJ0 and the other conditions were large to extremely large. Differences were observed in power values only between SJ60 and SJ0, SJ60 and AHSJ, and SJ0 and HSJ. Conclusions: HSJ modalities allow athletes to reach very to extremely largely greater lower-limb extension velocities (HSJ +24.0% [16%], AHSJ +42.8% [17.4%]) compared to those achieved during SJ0. HSJ and AHSJ modalities are inexpensive and practical modalities to train limb-extension velocity capabilities, that is, the ability of the neuromuscular system to produce force at high contraction velocities.
Natalia Romero-Franco, Juan Antonio Montaño-Munuera, Juan Carlos Fernández-Domínguez, and Pedro Jiménez-Reyes
Context: New methods are being validated to easily evaluate the knee joint position sense (JPS) due to its role in the sports movement and the risk of injury. However, no studies to date have considered the open kinetic chain (OKC) technique, despite the biomechanical differences compared with closed kinetic chain movements. Objective: To analyze the validity and reliability of a digital inclinometer to measure the knee JPS in the OKC movement. Design: The validity and intertester and intratester reliability of a digital inclinometer for measuring knee JPS were evaluated. Setting: Sports research laboratory. Participants: A total of 18 athletes (11 males and 7 females; 28.4 [6.6] y; 71.9 [14.0] kg; 1.77 [0.09] m; 22.8 [3.2] kg/m2) voluntary participated in this study. Main Outcomes Measures: Absolute angular error (AAE), relative angular error (RAE), and variable angular error (VAE) of knee JPS in an OKC. Results: Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and standard error of the mean (SEM) were calculated to determine the validity and reliability of the inclinometer. Data showed excellent validity of the inclinometer to obtain proprioceptive errors compared with the video analysis in JPS tasks (AAE: ICC = .981, SEM = 0.08; RAE: ICC = .974, SEM = 0.12; VAE: ICC = .973, SEM = 0.07). Intertester reliability was also excellent for all the proprioceptive errors (AAE: ICC = .967, SEM = 0.04; RAE: ICC = .974, SEM = 0.03; VAE: ICC = .939, SEM = 0.08). Similar results were obtained for intratester reliability (AAE: ICC = .861, SEM = 0.1; RAE: ICC = .894, SEM = 0.1; VAE: ICC = .700, SEM = 0.2). Conclusions: The digital inclinometer is a valid and reliable method to assess the knee JPS in OKC. Sport professionals may evaluate the knee JPS to monitor its deterioration during training or improvements throughout the rehabilitation process.
Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, David Rodríguez-Rosell, Mario C. Marques, and Juan José González-Badillo
To determine what variables determine the differences in performance on 2 tests of squat jump (SJ) performed under light load in highly trained athletes using maximal velocity (Vmax) or flight time (FT) as the discriminating factor of SJ performance.
Thirty-two participants performed 2 maximal weighted SJs using a force platform synchronized with a linear transducer. Mean force (Fmean), mean and maximal power (Pmean, Pmax), peak force (PF), maximal rate of force development (RFDmax), and time required to attain PF (TPF) and RFDmax (TRFDmax) were analyzed. SJs were divided into 2 segments: from the initiation of force application to PF1 and from the moment after PF1 to Vmax.
Traditional significance statistics revealed significant differences in the same variables between best and worst SJs using both FT and Vmax. However, to use an approach based on the magnitude of the effect, the best SJ showed greater Pmax (83/17/0%), Pmean (85/15/0%), Fmean (71/29/0%), RFDmax1 (73/27/0%), and PF1 (53/47/0%) and lower TPF2 (0/61/39%) than the worst SJ when Vmax was used to discriminate SJ performance. However, using FT to differentiate SJ performance, no difference was observed between best and worst.
Although jump height assessed through FT is a valid measure, these results suggest that Vmax is a more sensitive variable than FT to detect differences in loaded-SJ performance.
Juan A. Escobar Álvarez, Juan P. Fuentes García, Filipe A. Da Conceição, and Pedro Jiménez-Reyes
Purpose: Ballet dancers are required to achieve performance feats such as exciting and dramatic elevations. Dancers with a greater jump height can perform a wider range of skills during their flight time and implement more specific technical skills related to the aesthetic components of a dance choreography. New findings suggest the relationship between force and velocity mechanical capabilities (F-V profile) as an important variable for jumping performance. A new field method based on several series of loaded vertical jumps provides information on the theoretical maximal force, theoretical maximal velocity, theoretical maximal power, and the imbalance between force and velocity (F-V IMB). The purpose of this study was to observe the effects of 9 wk of individualized F-V profile-based training during countermovement jumps (CMJs) in female ballet dancers. Methods: CMJ and mechanical outputs of 46 dancers (age = 18.9 [1.1] y, body mass = 54.8 [6.1] kg, height = 163.7 [8.4] cm) were estimated in a pre–post intervention. The control group (10 participants) continued with the standardized training regimen (no resistance training), whereas the experimental group (36 participants) performed 2 sessions over 9 wk of a training plan based on their F-V profile. Results: The experimental group presented significant differences with large effect sizes in CMJ height (29.3 [3.2] cm vs 33.5 [3.72] cm), theoretical maximal force (24.1 [2.2] N/kg vs 29.9 [2.8] N/kg), and theoretical maximal velocity (4 [0.6] m/s vs 3.2 [0.5] m/s). Significant differences with a very large effect size were found in F-V IMB (43.8% [15.3%] vs 24.9% [8.7%]). Conclusion: A training program addressing F-V IMB is an effective way to improve CMJ height in female ballet dancers.
Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, Carlos Balsalobre-Fernández, Víctor Cuadrado-Peñafiel, Manuel A. Ortega-Becerra, and Juan J. González-Badillo
To examine the relationship between the relative load in full squats and the height achieved in jump-squat (JS) exercises and to determine the load that maximizes the power output of high-level athletes.
Fifty-one male high-level track-and-field athletes (age 25.2 ± 4.4 y, weight 77. ± 6.2 kg, height 179.9 ± 5.6 cm) who competed in sprinting and jumping events took part in the study. Full-squat 1-repetition-maximum (1-RM) and JS height (JH) with loads from 17 to 97 kg were measured in 2 sessions separated by 48 h.
Individual regression analyses showed that JH (R 2 = .992 ± .005) and the jump decrease (JD) that each load produced with respect to the unloaded countermovement jump (CMJ) (R 2 = .992 ± 0.007) are highly correlated with the full-squat %1-RM, which means that training intensities can be prescribed using JH and JD values. The authors also found that the load that maximizes JS’s power output was 0%RM (ie, unloaded CMJ).
These results highlight the close relationship between JS performance and relative training intensity in terms of %1-RM. The authors also observed that the load that maximizes power output was 0%1-RM. Monitoring jump height during JS training could help coaches and athletes determine and optimize their training loads.
Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Pierre Samozino, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, Filipe Conceição, Víctor Cuadrado-Peñafiel, Juan José González-Badillo, and Jean-Benoît Morin
To analyze the reliability and validity of a simple computation method to evaluate force (F), velocity (v), and power (P) output during a countermovement jump (CMJ) suitable for use in field conditions and to verify the validity of this computation method to compute the CMJ force–velocity (F–v) profile (including unloaded and loaded jumps) in trained athletes.
Sixteen high-level male sprinters and jumpers performed maximal CMJs under 6 different load conditions (0–87 kg). A force plate sampling at 1000 Hz was used to record vertical ground-reaction force and derive vertical-displacement data during CMJ trials. For each condition, mean F, v, and P of the push-off phase were determined from both force-plate data (reference method) and simple computation measures based on body mass, jump height (from flight time), and push-off distance and used to establish the linear F–v relationship for each individual.
Mean absolute bias values were 0.9% (± 1.6%), 4.7% (± 6.2%), 3.7% (± 4.8%), and 5% (± 6.8%) for F, v, P, and slope of the F–v relationship (SFv), respectively. Both methods showed high correlations for F–v-profile-related variables (r = .985–.991). Finally, all variables computed from the simple method showed high reliability, with ICC >.980 and CV <1.0%.
These results suggest that the simple method presented here is valid and reliable for computing CMJ force, velocity, power, and F–v profiles in athletes and could be used in practice under field conditions when body mass, push-off distance, and jump height are known.
Ramón Marcote-Pequeño, Amador García-Ramos, Víctor Cuadrado-Peñafiel, Jorge M. González-Hernández, Miguel Ángel Gómez, and Pedro Jiménez-Reyes
Purpose: To quantify the magnitude of the association between the same variables of the force–velocity (FV) profile and the performance variables (unloaded-squat-jump height and 20-m sprint time) obtained during jumping and sprinting testing and to determine which mechanical capacity (ie, maximum force [F 0], maximum velocity [V 0], or maximum power [P max]) presents the highest association with the performance variables. Methods: The FV profile of 19 elite female soccer players (age 23.4 [3.8] y, height 166.4 [5.6] cm, body mass 59.7 [4.7] kg) was determined during the jumping and sprinting tasks. The F 0, V 0, FV slope, P max, and FV imbalance (difference respect to the optimal FV profile in jumping and the decrease in the ratio of horizontal force production in sprinting) were determined for each task. Results: Very large correlations between both tasks were observed for P max (r = .75) and the performance variables (r = −.73), as well as moderate correlations for V 0 (r = .49), while the F 0 (r = −.14), the FV slope (r = −.09), and the FV imbalance (r = .07) were not significantly correlated between both tasks. The P max obtained during each specific task was the mechanical capacity most correlated with its performance variable (r = .84 in jumping and r = .99 in sprinting). Conclusions: The absence of significant correlations between some of the FV relationship parameters suggests that, for an individualized training prescription based on the FV profile, both jumping and sprinting testing procedures should be performed with elite female soccer players.
Jurdan Mendiguchia, Adrián Castaño-Zambudio, Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Jean–Benoît Morin, Pascal Edouard, Filipe Conceição, Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo, and Steffi L. Colyer
Purpose: Sprint kinematics have been linked to hamstring injury and performance. This study aimed to examine if a specific 6-week multimodal intervention, combining lumbopelvic control and unning technique exercises, induced changes in pelvis and lower-limb kinematics at maximal speed and improved sprint performance. Methods: Healthy amateur athletes were assigned to a control or intervention group (IG). A sprint test with 3-dimensional kinematic measurements was performed before (PRE) and after (POST) 6 weeks of training. The IG program included 3 weekly sessions integrating coaching, strength and conditioning, and physical therapy approaches (eg, manual therapy, mobility, lumbopelvic control, strength and sprint “front-side mechanics”-oriented drills). Results: Analyses of variance showed no between-group differences at PRE. At POST, intragroup analyses showed PRE–POST differences for the pelvic (sagittal and frontal planes) and thigh kinematics and improved sprint performance (split times) for the IG only. Specifically, IG showed (1) a lower anterior pelvic tilt during the late swing phase, (2) greater pelvic obliquity on the free-leg side during the early swing phase, (3) higher vertical position of the front-leg knee, (4) an increase in thigh angular velocity and thigh retraction velocity, (5) lower between-knees distance at initial contact, and (6) a shorter ground contact duration. The intergroup analysis revealed disparate effects (possibly to very likely) in the most relevant variables investigated. Conclusion: The 6-week multimodal training program induced clear pelvic and lower-limb kinematic changes during maximal speed sprinting. These alterations may collectively be associated with reduced risk of muscle strain and were concomitant with significant sprint performance improvement.