The aim of this study was to assess jumping performance and neuromuscular activity in lower limb muscles after drop jumps (DJ) from different drop heights (intensity) and during continuous jumping (fatigue), using markers such as reactive strength, jump height, mechanical power and surface electromyography (sEMG). The eccentric (EC) and concentric (CON) sEMG from the medial gastrocnemius (MG), biceps femoris (BF) and rectus (R) muscles were assessed during all tests. In a cross-sectional, randomized study, eleven volleyball players (age 24.4±3.2 years) completed 20 to 90-cm (DJ20 to DJ90) drop jumps and a 60-s continuous jump test. A one-way ANOVA test was used for comparisons, with Sidak post-hoc. The α level was <0.05. Reactive strength was greater for DJ40 compared to DJ90 (p<0.05; ES: 1.27). Additionally jump height was greater for DJ40 and DJ60 compared to DJ20 (p<0.05; ES: 1.26 and 1.27, respectively). No clear pattern of neuromuscular activity appeared during DJ20 to DJ90: some muscles showed greater, lower, or no change with increasing heights for both agonist and antagonist muscles, as well as for eccentric and concentric activity. Mechanical power, but not reactive strength, was reduced in the 60-s jump test (p<0.05; ES: 3.46). No changes were observed in sEMG for any muscle during the eccentric phase nor for the R muscle during the concentric phase of the 60-s jump test. However, for both MG and BF, concentric sEMG was reduced during the 60-s jump test (p<0.05; ES: 5.10 and 4.61, respectively). In conclusion, jumping performance and neuromuscular markers are sensitive to DJ height (intensity), although not in a clear dose-response fashion. In addition, markers such as mechanical power and sEMG are especially sensitive to the effects of continuous jumping (fatigue). Therefore, increasing the drop height during DJ does not ensure a greater training intensity and a combination of different drop heights may be required to elicit adaptations.
Cristobal Andrade, D., Manzo, O., Beltran, A. R., Álvarez, C., Del Rio, R., Toledo, C., Moran, J., & Ramírez-Campillo, R. (2017). Kinematic and neuromuscular measures of intensity during plyometric jumps. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000002143