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Reactive Strength Index and Knee Extension Strength Characteristics Are Predictive of Single-Leg Hop Performance After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Birchmeier, Thomas1; Lisee, Caroline1; Geers, Brent2; Kuenze, Christopher1,3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 5 - p 1201–1207
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003102
Original Research

Birchmeier, T, Lisee, C, Geers, B, and Kuenze, C. Reactive strength index and knee extension strength characteristics are predictive of single-leg hop performance after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. J Strength Cond Res 33(5): 1201–1207, 2019—Single-leg hop distance is incorporated into return to sport criteria after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) because of its relationship with knee extension strength; however, it may be related to other strength and plyometric characteristics. The purpose of this study was to assess the association between isometric knee extension strength and plyometric characteristics, including amortization and reactive strength index (RSI), measured during a single-leg drop vertical jump and single-leg hop performance in individuals with unilateral ACLR. Participants attended 2 testing sessions. During the first session, a biomechanical analysis using a 3D motion capture system was performed to measure RSI and amortization during a single-leg drop vertical jump for maximal height. Participants completed a single hop and a triple hop for maximal distance. During the second session, isometric knee extension strength was measured during a maximal voluntary isometric contraction. Strength characteristics included peak torque, rate of torque development (RTD), RTD 0–100 ms (RTD 100), and RTD 100–200 ms (RTD 200). Fifty-two individuals (17 men/35 women) participated. Multivariable regression models revealed jump height, peak torque, and RTD 200 explained 60.9% of the variance in normalized single-leg hop distance (p < 0.001). Reactive strength index, peak torque, RTD 200, and RTD 100 significantly explained 61.8% of the variance in normalized triple hop distance (p < 0.001). Single hop distance may indicate improved knee extension strength, whereas triple hop distance may indicate improvement in reactive strength. Training to improve RSI may improve triple hop performance and clinical outcomes in this population.

1Department of Kinesiology, College of Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan;

2College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; and

3Division of Sports Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Address correspondence to Thomas Birchmeier,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.