Relationships Between Hoffman Reflex Parameters, Trait Stress, and Athletic Performance

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Abstract

This study evaluated the relationships between trait stress, Hoffman reflex, and performance among 36 healthy amateur male athletes. We first obtained a trait stress questionnaire from participants and then assigned them to high- and low-stress groups. We next recorded Hoffman reflex data from the soleus and lateral gastrocnemius muscles and then examined their athletic performance on testing protocols separated by a 72-hour washout period. Performance testing utilized vertical jump height, 20 -m sprint time, and standing stork tests. There were significant correlations between (a) the standing stork test, vertical jump height, and trait stress and (b) Hmax/Mmax ratios, threshold intensity (Hth), the intensity of the Hmax, and the intensity of the Hlast. Hth, the intensity of Hmax, and the intensity of Hlast were significantly higher among the low-stress compared with the high-stress participant groups (p < .05), despite participants’ similar training history. We suggest that self-perceived psychological stress affects performance through neural adaptation.

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