Load-Power Relationship During a Countermovement Jump: A Joint Level Analysis

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Williams, KJ, Chapman, DW, Phillips, EJ, and Ball, N. Load-power relationship during a countermovement jump: A joint level analysis. J Strength Cond Res 32(4): 955–961, 2018—This study aimed to investigate whether hip, knee, and ankle peak power is influenced by the relative load lifted, altering the joint and system load-power relationship during a countermovement jump (CMJ). Twenty-three male national representative athletes (age: 20.3 ± 3.1 years, squat 1 repetition maximum [1RM]: 133.8 ± 24.8 kg) completed 3 CMJs at relative barbell loads of 0, 10, 20, 30, and 40% of an athlete's estimated back squat 1RM. Ground reaction force and joint kinematics were captured using a 16 camera motion capture array integrated with 2 in-ground triaxial force plates. Hip (= 20%, range 0 > 40%), knee (= 0%, 0 > 20%), and ankle (= 40%, 0 > 40%) peak power was maximized at different percentages of absolute strength, with an athlete-dependent variation in load-power profiles observed across all lower-body joints. A decrease in system (body + barbell mass) peak power was significantly (p ≤ 0.05, r = 0.45) correlated with a reduction in knee peak power. Timing of instantaneous system and hip peak power occurred significantly closer to toe-off as load increased. The findings highlight that the generation and translation of lower-body joint power is influenced by external load and athlete-dependent traits. This subsequently alters the load-power profile at a system level, explaining the broad spectrums of loads reported to optimize system power during a CMJ. When training, we recommend that a combination of barbell loads based on assorted percentages of the estimated 1RM be prescribed to optimize joint and system power during a CMJ.

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