Influence of Preactivity and Eccentric Muscle Activity on Concentric Performance during Vertical Jumping

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The purpose of this investigation was to observe the influence of increasing amounts of preactivity and eccentric muscle activity imposed by three different jump types on concentric vertical jumping performance. Sixteen athletes involved in jumping-related sports at Appalachian State University, which is a Division IA school, performed a static jump (SJ), counter-movement jump (CMJ), and drop jump (DJ). Force, power, velocity, and jump height were measured during each jump type. In addition, muscle activity was measured from two agonist muscles (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis) and one antagonist muscle (biceps femoris). Preactivity and eccentric phase muscle activity of the agonist muscles (average integrated electromyography) was significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher during the DJ (preactivity, 0.2 ± 0.11 mV; eccentric phase, 1.00 ± 0.36 mV) in comparison with the CMJ (preactivity, 0.11 ± 0.10 mV; eccentric phase, 0.45 ± 0.17 mV). Peak concentric force was highest during the DJ and was significantly different among all three jump types (SJ, CMJ, DJ). Maximal jump height was significantly higher during the DJ (0.41 ± 0.05 m) and CMJ (0.40 ± 0.06 m) compared with the SJ (0.37 ± 0.07 m). However, no significant difference in jump height existed between the CMJ and DJ. A positive energy balance, as assessed by force-displacement curves during the eccentric and concentric phases, was observed during the CMJ, and a negative energy balance was observed during the DJ. The data from this investigation indicate that a significant increase in concentric vertical jump performance is associated with increased levels of preactivity and eccentric phase muscle activity (SJ to CMJ). However, higher eccentric loading (CMJ to DJ) leads to a negative energy balance during the eccentric phase, which may relate to a non-significant increase in vertical jump height, even with coincidental increases in peak concentric force. Practitioners may want to focus on improving eccentric phase muscle activity through the use of plyometrics to improve overall jumping performance in athletes.

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