Effect of strength on plant foot kinetics and kinematics during a change of direction task
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences/Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Understanding the magnitude of forces and lower body kinematics that occur during a change of direction (COD) task can provide information about the biomechanical demands required to improve performance. To compare the magnitude of force, impulse, lower body kinematics and post-COD stride velocity produced between athletes of different strength levels during a COD task, 12 stronger (8 males, 4 females) and 12 weaker (4 males, 8 females) recreational team sport athletes were recruited. Strength levels were determined by relative peak isometric force of the dominant and non-dominant leg. All athletes performed 10 pre-planned 45° changes of direction (5 left, 5 right) while three-dimensional motion and ground reaction force (GRF) data were collected. Differences in all variables for the dominant leg were examined using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with a level of significance set at p ≤0.05. The stronger group displayed significantly faster post-COD stride velocity and greater vertical and horizontal braking forces, vertical propulsive force, vertical braking impulse, horizontal propulsive impulse, angle of peak braking force application, hip abduction and knee flexion angle compared to the weaker group. The results suggest that individuals with greater relative lower body strength produced higher magnitude plant foot kinetics and modified lower body positioning while producing faster COD performances. Future investigations should determine if strength training to enable athletes to increase plant foot kinetics while maintaining or adopting a lower body position results in a concomitant increases in post-COD stride velocity.