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Center of gravity height calculation

and average mechanical power during jump performance


Riccardo Di Giminiani1, Renato Scrimaglio2
1
Faculty of Sport Sciences-University of L’Aquila, Via Cardinale Mazzarino - 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
2
Department of Physics-Faculty of Sport Sciences-University of L’Aquila, Coppito 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
digi.e@tiscalinet.it

ABSTRACT
Di Giminiani R, Scrimaglio R
Center of gravity height calculation and average mechanical power during jump performance
Ital J Sport Sci 2006: 13: 78-84

The use of flight time to calculate the height or power during vertical jumping strongly has influenced the development of an instrument
able to measure flight time without using the expensive and sophisticate force plates. The platform on which the subjects can perform
single (SJ; CMJ) or continuos vertical jumps (HT) is called “Ergojump” (Bosco, 1983). This electronic apparatus is made up of a
resistive (or capacitative) platform connected by a cable to a digital timer (±0,001 s) which is able to record the flight time as it is
triggered, during a jump, by the feet of the subject at the moment of release from the platform, and will be stopped at the moment of touch
down. In addition, the average mechanical power produced in watts/kg is calculated.

KEYWORDS: center of gravity, jump performance

INTRODUCTION preferred. Vertical jumps are a typical expression of


Strength and power are the measures of the output of human maximal muscle power. Observing different
the motor system. One useful way to distinguish basic movements in sports or general physical
between these two parameters is to considerer the activity as well as the features peculiar of movement
force-velocity relation of muscle (Hill, 1938; Bosco in the infancy and puberty we can immediately
STRUMENTI E METODI

and Komi, 1979). The force-velocity relation is realize that explosive strength is the most common
characterized as compromising four distinct regions: and natural expression of force. Explosive strength
velocity = 0, force = 0, velocity > 0, and velocity < 0. can be defined as the ability of the neuromuscular
Strength is usually defined as the point on the force- system to develop high gradient of force in a short
velocity curve where velocity is close to zero time as possible (Bosco, 1985). The explosive
whereas the power produced by the motor system strength of a muscle depends upon numerous factors
correspond to the region in which velocity is ≠ 0. which include: fiber type, number of cross-bridges in
The power that a muscle can produce under normal parallel, force per cross-bridge, force-velocity
movement conditions in which several joints are relationship, fiber Vmax, force-pCa2+ relationship, and
involved, depends on the product of muscle force and force-frequency (action potential, Hz) relationship.
the velocity of shortening. Power production is Additionally, neural factors, such as cortical drive,
maximal when the muscle acts against a load that’s afferent inputs to the central nervous system, and
about 40% of maximum isometric force (MIF), or alpha motor neuron recruitment patterns, all affect
when the speed of shortening of the extensor leg the force and power of a muscle or muscle group
muscles reach 35% of the maximal angular knee (Fitts et al.,1991).
extension velocity (Bosco and Komi, 1979). In The power produced by the motor system can be
methodology of training, the maximal power determined by a task performance (e.g. vertical jump,
produced during a ballistic movement or against the weightlifting, standing long jump), with the use of an
gravity, in which the body represents the ergometer, or by an isolated-muscle experiment. The
gravitational load, the term explosive strength is evaluation of a task performance provides an index

ITALIAN JOURNAL of SPORT SCIENCES


78
of the whole body power. The vertical jump is (vf) at touch down. The time spent moving upward or
commonly used for this purpose. Asmussen and downward will be the same and equal to:
Bonde-Petersen (1974) had a brilliant idea and
introduced a system to measure the height during a / t [s]
1 2
f (1)
vertical jump based on flight time. Flight time is
measured as the space between force at takeoff and As the acceleration of gravity is 9,81 m/s 2 the
force at landing. Jumping techniques vary velocity (vf) is equal to:
considerably according to such factor, as whether the
takeoff is performed from a standing position or from vf = 1/2tf·9,81 [m/s] (2)
an approach run, and the movement can be
performed with (SI) or without a countermovement and the average velocity (vm), upward or downward,
(CMJ). is:
Additionally, during human hopping in place (HT)
the average mechanical power can be calculated from vm = 1/4tf·9,81 [m/s] (3)
the contact time with the ground and from the flight
time (Bosco et al. 1983) and used to estimate the Consequently, the height of jump (h), is calculated
explosive strength during this ballistic movement using the average velocity (vm) and the time flight
that involves a stretch-shorten cycle of the legs. (1/4tf) as follows:
During this bouncing gait, the action of the body’s
many musculoskeletal elements, including muscles, hf = vm·1/2tf [m] (4)
tendons, and ligaments, are integrated together so
that the overall musculoskeletal system behaves like Replacing vm by its formula given in equation 3 we
a single spring. can rewrite:
The use of flight time to calculate the height or
power during vertical jumping strongly has hf = 1/4 tf·9,81·1/2tf
influenced the development of an instrument able to
measure flight time without using the expensive and hf = 1/8(tf)2 or 1,226·(tf)2 (5)
sophisticate force plates. The platform on which the
subjects can perform single (SJ; CMJ) or continuos
vertical jumps (HT) is called “Ergojump” (Bosco, AVERAGE MECHANICAL POWER DURING
1983). This electronic apparatus is made up of a JUMP SERIES AS HT
resistive (or capacitative) platform connected by a To calculate the average mechanical power during
cable to a digital timer (±0,001 s) which is able to e.g. 10s the following basis of calculation is used
record the flight time as it is triggered, during a (Bosco et al.,1983):
jump, by the feet of the subject at the moment of
release from the platform, and will be stopped at the Power = W/tc [watts] (1)
moment of touch down. In addition, the average
mechanical power produced in watts/kg is calculated. Where W = the total average work performed during
10 s and tc = the average total contact time of vertical
jumps.
ELEVATION OF THE CENTER OF GRAVITY The total work (W) performed during a vertical jump
DURING SJ AND CMJ can be calculated using the following formula:
The jump performance during SJ and CMJ can be
quantified by calculating the elevation of the center W = m·g·h [J] (2)
of gravity.
The height of jump is calculated from the time of Where m = the mass of the subject; g = the
flight (t f) measured directly with the Ergojump acceleration of gravity; and h = the total
(Bosco et al., 1983). displacement of the center of gravity (CG)
The basis of this calculation is described in The total displacement of the center of gravity (h) is
Asmussen and Bonde-Petersen (1974) and here calculated summing the displacement during the
summarized: in the flight the subject will take off flight (hf) and contact period (hc) as follows:
with a certain vertical release velocity (vf), which
will decrease and become zero at the top of the jump. h = hf + hc [m] (3)
During the subsequent downward movement, the
velocity will again increase and reach the same value The displacement of CG during flight (h f ) is

ANNO 13 - NUMERO 1-2 2006


79
calculated using the recorded flight time (t f ) tf = Tf/n [s] (11)
according to the method of Asmussen and Bonde-
Petersen (1974) as follows: If in the jump series (including n jumps) the total
performance time (Tf) is e.g. 10 s, then the average
hf = (g·tf2)/8 [m] (4) total time(tt) is:

The displacement of CG during contact period (hc) tt = Tt/n


can be estimated assuming that the vertical velocity
from the lowest point of the CG to the release tt = 10/n [s] (12)
increases linearly. If the release velocity is vv and the
contact time is tc, the elevation of CG during the The contact time in a jump series is the total
contact period (hc) is: performance time minus the total flight times. Then
the average contact time (tc) in one jump is:
hc = (vv/2)·(tc/2) [m] (5)
tc = (Tc - Tf)/n
Because the vertical release velocity and impact
velocity are equal in a harmonic jump, the vertical tc = Tv/n [s] (13)
velocity (vv) can be written as follows:
Now substituting the individual flight times for the
vv = (g·tf)/2 [m/s] (6) average flight times the average mechanical power in
a jump series can be written as follows:
where tf is the flight time between jumps. Applying
the formulas (5) and (6) we can rewrite the Power = (g2·Tf·Tt)/(4·n·Tc) [watts/kg] (14)
displacement (hc) as follows:
If the total time is e.g. 10 s the last formula is
hc = (g·tf·tc)/8 [m] (7) written:

As the total displacement of CG is the sum of hc and Power = (g2·Tf·10)/4·n(10·Tt) [watts/kg] (15)
hf, we can write:

h = [(g·tf·tc)/8]+[ (g·tf2)/8]

h = (g·tf·tt)/8 [m] (8) REFERENCES

Where tf = flight time of one jump; tt = total time of Asmussen E, Bonde-Petersen F (1974) Storage of elastic
one jump (t t = t c + t f). The total work performed energy in skeletal muscles in man. Acta Physiol Scand
(formula 2) during a vertical jump can now be 91: 385-393
written as follows:
Bosco C, Luhtanen P, Komi PV (1983) A simple method
for measurement of mechanical power in jumping. Eur J
W = (m·g2·tf·tt)/8 [J] (9) Appl Physiol 50: 273-282

Assuming that the time of the positive work phase Bosco C., Komi P.V. (1979) Potentiation of the
mechanical behaviour of the human skeletal muscle
(tpos) during contact can be an half of the total contact
through prestretching. Acta Physiol. Scand., 106:467-
time (tpos = 1/2tc), the average mechanical power of the
472. 1979.
positive work phase per body mass is:
Hill A.V. (1938). The heat of shortening and the dynamic
Power = [(m·g ·tf·tt)/8]/(m· / t )
2 1 2 constants of muscle. Proc. Roy. Soc. B., 126:136-195.
c

Bosco C. (1985). Elasticità muscolare e forza esplosiva


Power = (g ·tf·tt)/(4·tc) [watts/kg]
2
(10) nelle attività fisico-sportive. Società Stampa Sportiva-
Roma.
In the jump series the Ergojump (Bosco-System) is Fitts R.H., McDonald K.S., Schluter J.M. (1991). The
summing the total flight time (Tt) of all (n) jumps, determinants of skeletal muscle force and power: their
and therefore the average flight time (tf) for one jump adaptability with changes in activity pattern. J. Biomech.,
is: 24(1):111-122.

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