Performance of a two-foot vertical jump: What is more important hip or knee dominance?
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Vertical jumping ability is an important fundamental skill for many athletic activities. The present work is focused on developing an understanding of the role of various movement strategies on vertical jump performance. The overall objective of this study was to determine if higher hip than knee joint contribution was more effective in enhancing vertical jump height. Additionally, the study explored possible links between the muscle activity and mechanical outputs, and to develop understanding of the role of the lumbar spine and hip. Twenty male university varsity athletes performed ten repetitions of three jumping strategies: preferred, hip dominant and knee dominant. Kinematics, kinetics and muscle activity of the lower limb and trunk were collected. The main observation was that the vertical jump height was positively associated with higher hip than knee work done. However, the within-subject comparisons between the trained hip and knee dominant tasks did not provide additional support for the importance of the hip. Higher hip work appeared associated with greater biceps femoris than gluteus maximus activity. The knee work increased with higher activity of the vastus lateralis and rectus femoris. Finally, higher trunk muscle activity and tighter coupling were associated with the vertical jump height and the max force. This study provides some evidence that encouraging hip dominance together with higher spine stiffness may improve two-foot vertical jump performance. This work has potential implications for training protocols that may be used to improve vertical jump performance.