Bilateral deficit of spring-like behaviour during hopping in sprinters



Unilateral leg stiffness is a key contributor to sprint running speed, thereby great bilateral deficit (BLD) of leg stiffness would be expected to be observed in sprinters. However, it remains clear only BLD of leg stiffness at the preferred hopping frequency in non-sprinters. The purpose of this study was to clarify the BLD of spring-like behaviour in hopping at various frequencies and the effect of chronic adaptation via sprint running experience on BLD during the hopping.


Fifteen male experienced sprinters and 12 male novices participated in this study. They were instructed to hop in place at three frequencies (2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 Hz), and to perform hopping with maximal effort. Ground reaction forces (GRF) of both legs during the hopping were recorded using two force plates.


At higher hopping frequencies during the unilateral and bilateral hopping, smaller peak value of vertical GRF (F max) and greater leg stiffness (K leg) were significantly observed. The BLD index of F max and the BLD index of K leg were significantly smaller at higher hopping frequencies. No significant differences of BLD index of F max and BLD index of K leg were observed between sprinters and novices.


Our results demonstrate that neuromuscular inhibition in the contralateral leg changes during the hopping based on hopping frequency. This suggests that plyometric training in the beginning of rehabilitation should involve bilateral jumping at a high frequency. In experienced sprinters, detailed mechanics of chronic neuromuscular adaptation via unilateral facilitation of spring-like behaviour should be assessed by measuring electromyographic activity.

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Fig. 1



Analysis variance


Bilateral deficit


Centre of mass of whole body


Vertical displacement of the centre of mass of whole body during the ground contact



F max :

Peak value of vertical reaction force normalized by body mass


Ground reaction force

K leg :

Leg stiffness normalized by body mass


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We thank all participants in this study. This study was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, and Culture (#15K12638 to MO and #15H03077 to T.I).

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Correspondence to Mitsuo Otsuka.

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All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Communicated by Toshio Moritani.

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Otsuka, M., Kurihara, T. & Isaka, T. Bilateral deficit of spring-like behaviour during hopping in sprinters. Eur J Appl Physiol 118, 475–481 (2018).

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  • Hopping frequency
  • Leg stiffness
  • Neuromuscular adaptation
  • Vertical ground reaction force