The effect of initial knee angle on oncentric-only squat jump performance

Document Type

Journal Article



Place of Publication

United States


School of Medical and Health Sciences




Originally published as: Mitchell, L. J., Argus, C. K., Taylor, K. L., Sheppard, J. M., & Chapman, D. W. (2017). The effect of initial knee angle on concentric-only squat jump performance. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 88(2), 184-192. Available here.


Purpose: There is uncertainty as to which knee angle during a squat jump (SJ) produces maximal jump performance. Importantly, understanding this information will aid in determining appropriate ratios for assessment and monitoring of the explosive characteristics of athletes. Method: This study compared SJ performance across different knee angles—90º, 100º, 110º, 120º, 130º, and a self-selected depth—for jump height and other kinetic characteristics. For comparison between SJ and an unconstrained dynamic movement, participants also performed a countermovement jump from a self-selected depth. Thirteen participants (Mage = 25.4 ± 3.5 years, Mheight = 1.8 ± 0.06 m, Mweight = 79.8 ± 9.5 kg) were recruited and tested for their SJ performance. Results: In the SJ, maximal jump height (35.4 ± 4.6 cm) was produced using a self-selected knee angle (98.7 ± 11.2°). Differences between 90°, 100°, and self-selected knee angles for jump height were trivial (ES ± 90% CL = 90°–100° 0.23 ± 0.12, 90°–SS −0.04 ± 0.12, 100°–SS −0.27 ± 0.20; 0.5–2.4 cm) and not statistically different. Differences between all other knee angles for jump height ranged from 3.8 ± 2.0 cm (mean ± 90% CL) to 16.6 ± 2.2 cm. A similar outcome to jump height was observed for velocity, force relative to body weight, and impulse for the assessed knee angles. Conclusions: For young physically active adult men, the use of a self-selected depth in the SJ results in optimal performance and has only a trivial difference to a constrained knee angle of either 90° or 100°