Control Strategy of Maximum Vertical Jumps: the Preferred Countermovement Depth May Not Be Fully Optimized for Jump Height

The aim of the present study was to explore the control strategy of maximum countermovement jumps regarding the preferred countermovement depth preceding the concentric jump phase. Elite basketball players and physically active non-athletes were tested on the jumps performed with and without an arm swing, while the countermovement depth was varied within the interval of almost 30 cm around its preferred value. The results consistently revealed 5.1-11.2 cm smaller countermovement depth than the optimum one, but the same difference was more prominent in non-athletes. In addition, although the same differences revealed a marked effect on the recorded force and power output, they reduced jump height for only 0.1-1.2 cm. Therefore, the studied control strategy may not be based solely on the countermovement depth that maximizes jump height. In addition, the comparison of the two groups does not support the concept of a dual-task strategy based on the trade-off between maximizing jump height and minimizing the jumping quickness that should be more prominent in the athletes that routinely need to jump quickly. Further research could explore whether the observed phenomenon is based on other optimization principles, such as the minimization of effort and energy expenditure. Nevertheless, future routine testing procedures should take into account that the control strategy of maximum countermovement jumps is not fully based on maximizing the jump height, while the countermovement depth markedly confound the relationship between the jump height and the assessed force and power output of leg muscles.
Publisher's PDF
Mandic, R., Knezevic, O., Mirkov, D., et al. (2016). Control strategy of maximum vertical jumps: The preferred countermovement depth may not be fully optimized for jump height. Journal of Human Kinetics, 52(1), pp. 85-94. Retrieved 6 Apr. 2017, from doi:10.1515/hukin-2015-0196.