The importance of maximal leg strength for female athletes when performing drop jumps

Matthew J Barr, Volker W Nolte
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2014, 28 (2): 373-80
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.

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