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Countermovement Jump Height: Gender and Sport-Specific Differences in the Force-Time Variables

Laffaye, Guillaume1; Wagner, Phillip P.2; Tombleson, Tom I. L.2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 4 - p 1096–1105
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182a1db03
Original Research

Abstract: Laffaye, G, Wagner, PP, and Tombleson, TIL. Countermovement jump height: Gender and sport-specific differences in the force-time variables. J Strength Cond Res 28(4): 1096–1105, 2014—The goal of this study was to assess (a) the eccentric rate of force development, the concentric force, and selected time variables on vertical performance during countermovement jump, (b) the existence of gender differences in these variables, and (c) the sport-specific differences. The sample was composed of 189 males and 84 females, all elite athletes involved in college and professional sports (primarily football, basketball, baseball, and volleyball). The subjects performed a series of 6 countermovement jumps on a force plate (500 Hz). Average eccentric rate of force development (ECC-RFD), total time (TIME), eccentric time (ECC-T), Ratio between eccentric and total time (ECC-T:T) and average force (CON-F) were extracted from force-time curves and the vertical jumping performance, measured by impulse momentum. Results show that CON-F (r = 0.57; p < 0.001) and ECC-RFD (r = 0.52, p < 0.001) are strongly correlated with the jump height (JH), whereas the time variables are slightly and negatively correlated (r = −0.21–0.23, p < 0.01). Force variables differ between both sexes (p < 0.01), whereas time variables did not differ, showing a similar temporal structure. The best way to jump high is to increase CON-F and ECC-RFD thus minimizing the ECC-T. Principal component analysis (PCA) accounted for 76.8% of the JH variance and revealed that JH is predicted by a temporal and a force component. Furthermore, the PCA comparison made among athletes revealed sport-specific signatures: volleyball players revealed a temporal-prevailing profile, a weak-force with large ECC-T:T for basketball players and explosive and powerful profiles for football and baseball players.

1Department of Sport Sciences, UR CIAMS—Motor Control and Perception Group, University of South Paris, Orsay, France; and

2Sparta Performance Science, Menlo Park, California

Address correspondence to Guillaume Laffaye,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.