A countermovement jump (CMJ) represents one of the most frequently used performance tests for monitoring neuromuscular function in athletes. An often-overlooked feature that may provide some useful diagnostic information is the actual shape of the force-time curve. The aim of this study was therefore to consider how the shape of the force-time curve influences jump performance. Thirty-three male rugby union players performed two CMJs on a force plate, with discrete variables and continuous curve analysis used. The subjects were dichotomized based on shape of the force-time curve during the propulsion phase and by jump height. The differences between the unimodal and bimodal groups were unclear for jump height (ES = 0.28, ±0.58) and reactive strength index-modified (ES = −0.30, ±0.59). A substantial difference between high (40.2 ± 2.9 cm) and low (31.2 ± 3.2 cm) jumpers only existed in the late propulsion phase by 79.0% to 97.0% of the normalized force-time curve. A bimodal force-time curve is not representative of an optimal pattern of performance and simply reflects an inefficient stretch-shortening cycle. The inter-individual variability that exists in braking COM displacement renders temporal phase analysis impractical in cross-sectional type studies.
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