Test-retest Reliability of Jump Execution Variables using Mechanography: A Comparison of Jump Protocols

Mechanography during the vertical jump test allows for evaluation of force-time variables reflecting jump execution, which may enhance screening for functional deficits that reduce physical performance and determining mechanistic causes underlying performance changes. However, utility of jump mechanography for evaluation is limited by scant test-retest reliability data of force-time variables. Purpose: To examine test-retest reliability of jump execution variables assessed from mechanography using two different protocols. Methods: 32 women (mean ± SD: age = 20.8 ± 1.3 yr, height = 167.6 ± 6.3 cm, mass = 68.2 ± 12.7 kg) and 16 men (age = 22.1 ± 1.9 yr, height = 181.5 ± 5.0 cm, mass = 94.1 ± 24.6 kg) attended a familiarization session followed by two testing sessions, all one week apart, during which they performed the vertical jump test and had mechanography data recorded. Participants performed six squat jumps (SJ) per session, with squat depth self-selected for the first three jumps and controlled using a goniometer to 110º knee flexion for the remaining three jumps. Raw data were sampled at 1,000 Hz and filtered with a cutoff frequency of 90.9 Hz using Bertec Digital AcquireTM. Jump execution variables were calculated using a macro program in Microsoft Visual Basic. Eight force-time variables were assessed. Test-retest reliability was quantified as the systematic error (using %difference between jumps), random error (using coefficients of variation), and test-retest correlations (using intraclass correlation coefficients).Results: Jump execution variables demonstrated good reliability, evidenced by very small systematic errors (mean ±95%CI: –1.2 ±2.3%), small random errors (mean ±95%CI: 17.8 ±3.7%), and very strong test-retest correlations (range: 0.73-0.97). Differences in random errors between controlled and self-selected protocols were negligible (mean ±95%CI: 1.3 ±2.3%). Conclusion: Jump execution variables demonstrated good reliability, with no meaningful differences between the controlled and self-selected SJ depth protocols. To simplify testing, a self-selected SJ depth protocol can be used to assess force-time variables with negligible impact on measurement error

Listed In: Biomechanics