Alternative Countermovement-Jump Analysis to Quantify Acute Neuromuscular Fatigue

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose:

To examine the reliability and magnitude of change after fatiguing exercise in the countermovement-jump (CMJ) test and determine its suitability for the assessment of fatigue-induced changes in neuromuscular (NM) function. A secondary aim was to examine the usefulness of a set of alternative CMJ variables (CMJ-ALT) related to CMJ mechanics.

Methods:

Eleven male college-level team-sport athletes performed 6 CMJ trials on 6 occasions. A total of 22 variables, 16 typical (CMJ-TYP) and 6 CMJ-ALT, were examined. CMJ reproducibility (coefficient of variation; CV) was examined on participants’ first 3 visits. The next 3 visits (at 0, 24, and 72 h postexercise) followed a fatiguing high-intensity intermittent-exercise running protocol. Meaningful differences in CMJ performance were examined through effect sizes (ES) and comparisons to interday CV.

Results:

Most CMJ variables exhibited intraday (n = 20) and interday (n = 21) CVs of <10%. ESs ranging from trivial to moderate were observed in 18 variables at 0 h (immediately postfatigue). Mean power, peak velocity, flight time, force at zero velocity, and area under the force–velocity trace showed changes greater than the CV in most individuals. At 24 h, most variables displayed trends toward a return to baseline. At 72 h, small increases were observed in time-related CMJ variables, with mean changes also greater than the CV.

Conclusions:

The CMJ test appears a suitable athlete-monitoring method for NM-fatigue detection. However, the current approach (ie, CMJ-TYP) may overlook a number of key fatigue-related changes, and so practitioners are advised to also adopt variables that reflect the NM strategy used.

Gathercole and Sporer are with the School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada. Stellingwerff and Sleivert are with the Canadian Sport Inst Pacific, Victoria, BC, Canada. Address author correspondence to Rob Gathercole at gatherco@uvic.ca.