Strength and power capabilities predict weighted parameter ranking of saut de chat leaping performance in dancers
Taylor & Francis
School of Medical and Health Sciences
National Strength and Conditioning Association Australian Government
Limited research exists on the relationship between aesthetic saut de chat performance and muscle-tendon unit (MTU) characteristics of dancers. We developed a weighted parameter ranking (WPR) tool to incorporate aesthetic leaping aspects (i.e., height, peak split angle, average trunk angle and trunk angle range) for correlation with MTU properties. The purpose was to identify the relationship of saut de chat WPR and leap height with maximal plantarflexion strength, medial gastrocnemius (MG) stiffness, Achilles tendon (AT) stiffness and relative peak power (PP). Dancers (n = 18) performed maximal plantarflexion, short-range stretches and isometric ramping contractions on a dynamometer equipped with ultrasound to determine strength, MG stiffness and AT stiffness, respectively. Subjects then performed saut de chat leaps atop force platforms surrounded by motion capture cameras. A principal component analysis (PCA) was performed to compare WPR variable weightings with PCA results and rankings. Moderate–strong relationships were identified among WPR, maximal plantarflexion strength, MG stiffness and PP. Strong–very strong relationships were also identified between leap height and maximal plantarflexion strength, MG stiffness, AT stiffness, peak split angle and PP. A very strong correlation existed between PCA rankings and WPRs. Practitioners may consider developing strength and power capabilities in dancers to improve leaping.