Is muscle power related to running speed with changes of direction?

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2002 Sep;42(3):282-8.


Background: The purpose of this study was to identify the relationships between leg muscle power and sprinting speed with changes of direction.

Experimental design: the study was designed to describe relationships between physical qualities and a component of sports performance.

Setting: testing was conducted in an indoor sports hall and a biomechanics laboratory.

Participants: 15 male participants were required to be free of injury and have recent experience competing in sports involving sprints with changes of direction.

Measures: subjects were timed in 8 m sprints in a straight line and with various changes of direction. They were also tested for bilateral and unilateral leg extensor muscle concentric power output by an isokinetic squat and reactive strength by a drop jump.

Results: The correlations between concentric power and straight sprinting speed were non-significant whereas the relationships between reactive strength and straight speed were statistically significant. Correlations between muscle power and speed while changing direction were generally low and non-significant for concentric leg power with some moderate and significant (p<0.05) coefficients found for reactive strength. The participants who turned faster to one side tended to have a reactive strength dominance in the leg responsible for the push-off action.

Conclusions: The relationships between leg muscle power and change-of-direction speed were not consistent. Reactive strength as measured by the drop jump appears to have some importance for lateral change-of-direction speed, possibly because of similar push-off actions. It was concluded that reactive strength of the leg extensor muscles has some importance in change-of-direction performance but the other technical and perceptual factors than influence agility performance should also be considered.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Kinesis / physiology*
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Running / physiology*