Effects of Different Footwear Properties and Surface Instability on Neuromuscular Activity and Kinematics During Jumping

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Abstract

Lesinski, M, Prieske, O, Borde, R, Beurskens, R, and Granacher, U. Effects of different footwear properties and surface instability on neuromuscular activity and kinematics during jumping. J Strength Cond Res 32(11): 3246–3257, 2018—The purpose of this study was to examine sex-specific effects of different footwear properties vs. barefoot condition during the performance of drop jumps (DJs) on stable and unstable surfaces on measures of jump performance, electromyographic (EMG) activity, and knee joint kinematics. Drop jump performance, EMG activity of lower-extremity muscles, as well as sagittal and frontal knee joint kinematics were tested in 28 healthy male (n = 14) and female (n = 14) physically active sports science students (23 ± 2 years) during the performance of DJs on stable and unstable surfaces using different footwear properties (elastic vs. minimal shoes) vs. barefoot condition. Analysis revealed a significantly lower jump height and performance index (Δ7–12%; p < 0.001; 2.22 ≤ d = 2.90) during DJs on unstable compared with stable surfaces. This was accompanied by lower thigh/shank muscle activities (Δ11–28%; p < 0.05; 0.99 ≤ d = 2.16) and knee flexion angles (Δ5–8%; p < 0.05; 1.02 ≤ d = 2.09). Furthermore, knee valgus angles during DJs were significantly lower when wearing shoes compared with barefoot condition (Δ22–32%; p < 0.01; 1.38 ≤ d = 3.31). Sex-specific analyses indicated higher knee flexion angles in females compared with males during DJs, irrespective of the examined surface and footwear conditions (Δ29%; p < 0.05; d = 0.92). Finally, hardly any significant footwear-surface interactions were detected. Our findings revealed that surface instability had an impact on DJ performance, thigh/shank muscle activity, and knee joint kinematics. In addition, the single factors “footwear” and “sex” modulated knee joint kinematics during DJs. However, hardly any significant interaction effects were found. Thus, additional footwear-related effects can be neglected when performing DJs during training on different surfaces.

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