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Biomechanical Differences Between Incline and Plane Hopping

Kannas, Theodoros M; Kellis, Eleftherios; Amiridis, Ioannis G

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: December 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 12 - pp 3334-3341
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31821764e4
Original Research

Kannas, TM, Kellis, E, and Amiridis, IG. Biomechanical differences between incline and plane hopping. J Strength Cond Res 25(12): 3334–3341, 2011—The need for the generation of higher joint power output during performance of dynamic activities led us to investigate the force-length relationship of the plantar flexors during consecutive stretch-shortening cycles of hopping. The hypothesis of this study was that hopping (consecutive jumps with the knee as straight as possible) on an inclined (15°) surface might lead to a better jumping performance compared with hopping on a plane surface (0°). Twelve active men performed 3 sets of 10 consecutive hops on both an incline and plane surface. Ground reaction forces; ankle and knee joint kinematics; electromyographic (EMG) activity from the medial gastrocnemius (MG), soleus (Sol) and tibialis anterior (TA); and architectural data from the MG were recorded. The results showed that participants jumped significantly higher (p < 0.05) when hopping on an inclined surface (30.32 ± 8.18 cm) compared with hopping on a plane surface (27.52 ± 4.97 cm). No differences in temporal characteristics between the 2 types of jumps were observed. Incline hopping induced significantly greater ankle dorsiflexion and knee extension at takeoff compared with plane hopping (p < 0.05). The fascicle length of the MG was greater at initial contact with the ground during incline hopping (p < 0.05). Moreover, the EMG activities of Sol and TA during the propulsion phase were significantly higher during incline compared with that during plane hopping (p < 0.05). It does not seem unreasonable to suggest that, if the aim of hopping plyometrics is to improve plantar flexor explosivity, incline hopping might be a more effective exercise than hopping on a plane surface.

Laboratory of Neuromechanics, Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Serres, Greece

Address correspondence to Theodoros M. Kannas, thkannas@phed-sr.auth.gr.

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association