, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 285-297

Jump Distance Increases While Carrying Handheld Weights: Impulse, History, and Jump Performance in a Simple Lab Exercise

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This laboratory exercise is designed to provide an understanding of the mechanical concept of impulse as it applies to human movement and athletic performance. Students compare jumps performed with and without handheld weights. Contrary to initial expectation, jump distance is increased with moderate additional weights. This was familiar to Ancient Greek athletes where “halteres” were a part of the original Olympic jumping sports. The effectiveness of this laboratory was assessed with a prelab questionnaire evaluating understanding of the concepts relevant to jumping mechanics and a postlab questionnaire assessing understanding of the same principles in the context of a different but mechanically analogous circumstance, that of throwing. Results indicate that understanding improved significantly as a result of participation in the laboratory exercise.