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Loren Z.F. Chiu and George J. Salem

Sacral marker and pelvis reconstruction methods have been proposed to approximate total body center of mass during relatively low intensity gait and hopping tasks, but not during a maximum effort vertical jumping task. In this study, center of mass displacement was calculated using the pelvic kinematic method and compared with center of mass displacement using the ground-reaction force-impulse method, in experienced athletes (n = 13) performing restricted countermovement vertical jumps. Maximal vertical jumps were performed in a biomechanics laboratory, with data collected using an 8-camera motion analysis system and two force platforms. The pelvis center of mass was reconstructed from retro-reflective markers placed on the pelvis. Jump height was determined from the peak height of the pelvis center of mass minus the standing height. Strong linear relationships were observed between the pelvic kinematic and impulse methods (R 2 = .86; p < .01). The pelvic kinematic method underestimated jump height versus the impulse method, however, the difference was small (CV = 4.34%). This investigation demonstrates concurrent validity for the pelvic kinematic method to determine vertical jump height.

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Kevin R. Ford, Anh-Dung Nguyen, Eric J. Hegedus and Jeffrey B. Taylor

Virtual environments with real-time feedback can simulate extrinsic goals that mimic real life conditions. The purpose was to compare jump performance and biomechanics with a physical overhead goal (POG) and with a virtual overhead goal (VOG). Fourteen female subjects participated (age: 18.8 ± 1.1 years, height: 163.2 ± 8.1 cm, weight 63.0 ± 7.9 kg). Sagittal plane trunk, hip, and knee biomechanics were calculated during the landing and take-off phases of drop vertical jump with different goal conditions. Repeated-measures ANOVAs determined differences between goal conditions. Vertical jump height displacement was not different during VOG compared with POG. Greater hip extensor moment (P < .001*) and hip angular impulse (P < .004*) were found during VOG compared with POG. Subjects landed more erect with less magnitude of trunk flexion (P = .002*) during POG compared with VOG. A virtual target can optimize jump height and promote increased hip moments and trunk flexion. This may be a useful alternative to physical targets to improve performance during certain biomechanical testing, screening, and training conditions.

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Luis F. Aragón-Vargas and M. Melissa Gross

The purpose of this study was to investigate the kinesiological factors that distinguish good jumpers from poor ones, in an attempt to understand the critical factors in vertical jump performance (VJP). Fifty-two normal, physically active male college students each performed five maximal vertical jumps with arms akimbo. Ground reaction forces and video data were collected during the jumps. Subjects' strength was tested isometrically. Thirty-five potential predictor variables were calculated for statistical modeling by multiple-regression analysis. At the whole-body level of analysis, the best models (which included peak and average mechanical power) accounted for 88% of VJP variation (p < .0005). At the segmental level, the best models accounted for 60% of variation in VJP (p < .0005). Unexpectedly, coordination variables were not related to VJP. These data suggested that VJP was most strongly associated with the mechanical power developed during jump execution.

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Peter F. Vint and Richard N. Hinrichs

The purpose of this investigation was to quantify the differences between one- and two-foot vertical jumping performances. Fourteen subjects performed both jump styles with a four-step, self-paced approach. While overall jump and reach heights were similar between one-foot and two-foot jumps, the strategies employed to achieve these results were notably different. One-foot jumps benefited from an increased takeoff height that was largely attributable to the elevation of the free swinging leg. Further, it was suggested that the actions of this limb may have helped slow the rate of extension of the support leg during the propulsion phase. Greater flight heights were achieved during two-foot jumps, as expected, but the magnitude of this difference was only about 9 cm. It was suggested that factors associated with the development of muscular tension, vertical velocity at touchdown, and horizontal approach speed may have all contributed to the unexpectedly small differences in flight height between one-foot and two-foot jumping performances.

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Kuangyou B. Cheng

The effect of joint strengthening on standing vertical jump height is investigated by computer simulation. The human model consists of five rigid segments representing the feet, shanks, thighs, HT (head and trunk), and arms. Segments are connected by frictionless revolute joints and model movement is driven by joint torque actuators. Each joint torque is the product of maximum isometric torque and three variable functions of instantaneous joint angle, angular velocity, and activation level, respectively. Jumping movements starting from a balanced initial posture and ending at takeoff are simulated. A matching simulation reproducing the actual jumping movement is generated by optimizing joint activation level. Simulations with the goal of maximizing jump height are repeated for varying maximum isometric torque of one joint by up to ±20% while keeping other joint strength values unchanged. Similar to previous studies, reoptimization of activation after joint strengthening is necessary for increasing jump height. The knee and ankle are the most effective joints in changing jump height (by as much as 2.4%, or 3 cm). For the same amount of percentage increase/decrease in strength, the shoulder is the least effective joint (which changes height by as much as 0.6%), but its influence should not be overlooked.

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Marlene Schoeman, Ceri E. Diss and Siobhan C. Strike

A unilateral transtibial amputation causes a disruption to the musculoskeletal system, which results in asymmetrical biomechanics. The current study aimed to assess the movement asymmetry and compensations that occur as a consequence of an amputation when performing a countermovement vertical jump. Six unilateral transtibial amputees and 10 able-bodied (AB) participants completed 10 maximal vertical jumps, and the highest jump was analyzed further. Three-dimensional lower limb kinematics and normalized (body mass) kinetic variables were quantified for the intact and prosthetic sides. Symmetry was assessed through the symmetry index (SI) for each individual and statistically using the Mann-Whitney U test between the intact and prosthetic sides for the amputee group. A descriptive analysis between the amputee and AB participants was conducted to explore the mechanisms of amputee jumping. The amputee jump height ranged from 0.09 to 0.24 m. In the countermovement, all ankle variables were asymmetrical (SI > 10%) and statistically different (p < .05) for the amputees. At the knee and hip, there was no statistical difference between the intact and prosthetic sides range of motion, although there was evidence of individual asymmetry. The knees remained more extended compared with the AB participants to prevent collapse. In propulsion, the prosthesis did not contribute to the work done and the ankle variables were asymmetrical (p < .05). The knee and hip variables were not statistically different between the intact and prosthetic sides, although there was evidence of functional asymmetry and the contribution tended to be greater on the intact compared with the prosthetic side. The lack of kinetic involvement of the prosthetic ankle and both knees due to the limitation of the prosthesis and the altered musculoskeletal mechanics of the joints were the reason for the reduced height jumped.

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Kathryn Mills, Aula Idris, Thu-An Pham, John Porte, Mark Wiggins and Manolya Kavakli

instructed to jump off a 30-cm high box and immediately perform a maximum vertical jump landing on both feet. During the jump, they were instructed to raise their arms as though they were jumping to shoot a ball. Up to 5 practice trials were granted prior to 3D motion analysis. A convenience sample of 40

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John R. Harry, Leland A. Barker, Jeffrey D. Eggleston and Janet S. Dufek

Many competitive and recreational sports involve a propulsive vertical jump followed by a landing. An unavoidable occurrence during jump landings is impact with the ground. 1 Typically, the landing phase is evaluated with respect to injury potential due to high-magnitude vertical ground reaction

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Alison Locke, Michael Sitler, Christopher Aland and Iris Kimura

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a softshell prophylactic ankle stabilizer (PAS) on performance in events involving speed, agility, and vertical jump during long-term use. The events examined were the 24.384-m sprint, 12.192-m shuttle ran, and vertical jump. Subjects were high school basketball players who were randomly assigned to either a PAS (n = 11) or a nonbraced control (n = 13) group. Results of the study revealed that the softshell PAS had no significant effect on any of the three performance events tested over a 3-month basketball season. However, there was a significant difference in 24.384-m sprint and 12.192-m shuttle run times across test sessions regardless of treatment group. In conclusion, the softshell PAS neither enhanced nor inhibited performance in activities involving speed, agility, or vertical jump during long-term use.

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Bradley Smith, Tina Claiborne and Victor Liberi

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of ankle bracing on vertical jump performance and lower extremity kinematics and electromyography (EMG) activity. Twenty healthy college athletes participated in two sessions, separated by a minimum of 24 hr. They performed five jumps with no brace on the first day, and five jumps with both ankles braced on the second day. An average of the three highest jumps each day was used for analysis. Braced vertical jump performance significantly decreased (p = .002) as compared with the unbraced condition. In addition, hip flexion (p = .043) and ankle plantar flexion (p = .001) angles were significantly smaller during the braced vertical jump. There was also a significant reduction in soleus muscle EMG (p = .002) during the braced condition.