Lower limb stiffness and maximal sprint speed in 11-16-year-old boys
Hughes, Michael G.
Cronin, John B.
Lloyd, Rhodri S.
Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
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The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between vertical stiffness, leg stiffness and maximal sprint speed in a large cohort of 11-16-year-old boys. Three-hundred and thirty-six boys undertook a 30 m sprint test using a floor-level optical measurement system, positioned in the final 15 m section. Measures of speed, step length, step frequency, contact time and flight time were directly measured whilst force, displacement, vertical stiffness and leg stiffness, were modeled from contact and flight times, from the two fastest consecutive steps for each participant over two trials. All force, displacement and stiffness variables were significantly correlated with maximal sprint speed (p <= 0.05). Relative vertical stiffness had a very large (r > 0.7) relationship with sprint speed, while vertical center of mass displacement, absolute vertical stiffness, relative peak force, and maximal leg spring displacement had large (r > 0.5) relationships. Relative vertical stiffness and relative peak force did not significantly change with advancing age (p > 0.05), but together with maximal leg spring displacement accounted for 96% of the variance in maximal speed. It appears that relative vertical stiffness and relative peak force are important determinants of sprint speed in boys aged 11-16 years, but are qualities that may need to be trained due to no apparent increases from natural development. Practitioners may wish to utilize training modalities such as plyometrics and resistance training to enable adaptation to these qualities due to their importance as predictors of speed in youth.
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research;
Meyers, R.W., Moeskops, S., Oliver, J.L., Hughes, M.G., Cronin, J.B. and Lloyd, R.S. (2017) 'Lower limb stiffness and maximal sprint speed in 11-16-year-old boys', The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.
This article was published in The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research on 04 December 2017 (online) available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000002383
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
- Sport Research Groups 
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