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Lower Limb Stiffness: Effect on Performance and Training Considerations

McMahon, John J. BSc (Hons), CSCS; Comfort, Paul BSc (Hons), MSc, CSCS*D; Pearson, Stephen BSc (Hons), PhD, CSCS

Strength & Conditioning Journal: December 2012 - Volume 34 - Issue 6 - p 94–101
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e3182781b4e
Article

SUMMARY: THE AIM OF THIS REVIEW WAS TO SUMMARIZE THE RESEARCH TO DATE ON LOWER LIMB STIFFNESS IN RELATION TO BOTH ITS EFFECT ON PERFORMANCE AND TRAINING CONSIDERATIONS. EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT SOME AMOUNT OF LOWER LIMB STIFFNESS IS REQUIRED FOR SUCCESSFUL ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE, BUT TOO MUCH STIFFNESS MAY BE DETRIMENTAL. TO AVOID RECRUITING EXCESSIVE STIFFNESS, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE REACTIVE STRENGTH INDEX SHOULD BE USED. IN TERMS OF TRAINING TO INCREASE LOWER LIMB STIFFNESS, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT RESISTANCE TRAINING SHOULD BE PERFORMED WITH LOADS ABOVE 75% OF 1 REPETITION MAXIMUM AND SHOULD PRECEDE HIGH-INTENSITY PLYOMETRIC AND POWER TRAINING.

Centre for Health, Sport and Rehabilitation Sciences Research, University of Salford, Salford, United Kingdom

John J. McMahon is a PhD candidate Muscle-Tendon Function at the University of Salford.

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Paul Comfort is the program leader for the MSc Strength and Conditioning at the University of Salford.

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Stephen Pearson is a senior lecturer in Human and Applied Physiology at the University of Salford.

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© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association