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The Importance of Maximal Leg Strength for Female Athletes When Performing Drop Jumps

Barr, Matthew J.1; Nolte, Volker W.2

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 2 - p 373–380
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31829999af
Original Research

Barr, MJ and Nolte, VW. The importance of maximal leg strength for female athletes when performing drop jumps. J Strength Cond Res 28(2): 373–380, 2014—A common suggestion is that a predetermined level of maximal leg strength is required before drop jump (DJ) training can begin. This study sought to examine the relationship between maximal squat strength (1 repetition maximum [RM]) and DJ performance in 15 female rugby players (n = 15). The subjects were tested for 1RM, countermovement jump, squat jump, and DJs from 0.24, 0.36, 0.48, 0.60, 0.72, and 0.84 m. Jump height (JH) was calculated for all jumps and relative peak eccentric force, relative peak concentric force, ground contact time (GCT), and reactive strength index were also calculated for DJs. Pearson correlations were used to examine the relationship between 1RM relative to body mass (BM) (1RM/BM) and JHs, reactive strength index, and GCT during DJs. The subjects were placed in a high strength (HS) or low strength (LS) group depending on whether or not their 1RM/BM was >1 or <1. The T-tests and 2-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to compare the groups. A Fishers post hoc test was used for the ANOVA with significance set at p < 0.05. A large correlation between JH and 1RM/BM was shown at the 0.84-m dropping height (r = 0.56). A significant overall difference was found between the HS and LS groups for DJ JH with a post hoc analysis revealing a significant difference at the 0.84-m drop height (p = 0.029). It is likely beneficial for female athletes to achieve high levels of maximal leg strength if they are going to use high (>0.8-m) drop heights when performing DJs.

1Center for Exercise and Sports Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia; and

2Department of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

Address correspondence to Matthew J. Barr,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.