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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2013 August;53(4):378-86

language: English

Jumping performance profile of male and female gymnasts

Marina M. 1, Jemni M. 2, Rodríguez F. 1

1 INEFC Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain;
2 School of Science, University of Greenwich Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, UK


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Aim: The aim of this study was to establish a more precise jumping performance profile of elite gymnasts than that published in previous studies.
Methods: Seventy-six elite male and female competitive gymnasts and 91 moderately active subjects volunteered for the study. The jumping tests performed on a contact mat were: squat jump (SJ) with progressive loads of 0%, 25%, 50 %, 75% and 100% of body mass, counter-movement jump (CMJ), and counter-movement jump with arm swing (CMJA). The parameters used to assess the jumping performance were flight time (FT, ms), FT normalized to body mass (FTbm, ms/kg), estimated elastic component (EC) and arm participation (AP). In SJ, the overload with respect to body mass had a negative impact on reliability in all of the subgroups that were analysed. When overloads were above 50% of body mass in SJ, reliability was poor. Therefore, overloads should not be used with sedentary young females. Gymnasts carry out a large number of jumps from very young ages, which may explain their high jump reliability (ICC>0.91).
Results: We used FT to estimate the F-v curve through SJ with overloads. The curves for male gymnasts and their controls were practically identical. However, when FT was normalized to body mass (FTbm), the F-v curve showed the advantage of female gymnasts in particular over their control group when overloads were above 50%. Larger, more significant (P<0.001) differences between gymnasts and their control groups were observed in CMJ and CMJA, with FTbm instead of FT. The combination of poor SJ and good CMJ performances explains why the EC was higher in gymnasts than in controls (+27%).
Conclusion: The better AP of the gymnasts (+79%) may be due to better arm strength conditioning and segmental coordination. EC and AP can be considered a suitable complementary parameter of jumping performance in gymnasts.

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