The effect of dropping height on jumping performance in trained and untrained prepubertal boys and girls

Eleni I Bassa, Dimitrios A Patikas, Aikaterini I Panagiotidou, Sophia D Papadopoulou, Theofilos C Pylianidis, Christos M Kotzamanidis
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2012, 26 (8): 2258-64
Plyometric training in children, including different types of jumps, has become common practice during the last few years in different sports, although there is limited information about the adaptability of children with respect to different loads and the differences in performance between various jump types. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of gender and training background on the optimal drop jump height of 9- to 11-year-old children. Sixty prepubertal (untrained and track and field athletes, boys and girls, equally distributed in each group [n = 15]), performed the following in random order: 3 squat jumps, 3 countermovement jumps (CMJs) and 3 drop jumps from heights of 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 cm. The trial with the best performance in jump height of each test was used for further analysis. The jump type significantly affected the jump height. The jump height during the CMJ was the highest among all other jump types, resulting in advanced performance for both trained and untrained prepubertal boys and girls. However, increasing the dropping height did not change the jumping height or contact time during the drop jump. This possibly indicates an inability of prepubertal children to use their stored elastic energy to increase jumping height during drop jumps, irrespective of their gender or training status. This indicates that children, independent of gender and training status, have no performance gain during drop jumps from heights up to 50 cm, and therefore, it is recommended that only low drop jump heights be included in plyometric training to limit the probability of sustaining injuries.

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