Context: Hop tests are functional tests that reportedly require strength, power, and postural stability to perform. The extent to which a triple-hop distance (THD) test measures each of these characteristics is relatively unknown.
Objective: To determine the extent to which the THD predicts performance on clinical measures of power, strength, and balance in athletic individuals.
Design: Within-subjects correlational study.
Setting: Station-based, preseason screening of athletes.
Patients or other participants: Forty National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I-AA men's and women's soccer student-athletes (20 women, 20 men; age = 20.0 +/- 1.4 years, height = 172.8 +/- 9.2 cm, mass = 71.9 +/- 8.9 kg).
Intervention(s): As part of a comprehensive preseason screening of athletes, participants completed the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) test, 3 trials each of the THD and vertical jump, and 5 repetitions each of concentric isokinetic quadriceps and hamstrings strength testing at 60 degrees /s and 180 degrees /s. Bivariate correlations and linear regression analyses determined the extent to which THD (cm) predicted each of the strength, power, and balance measures.
Main outcome measure(s): Maximal vertical jump height (cm), total BESS error scores, and quadriceps (Quad(60), Quad(180)) and hamstrings (Ham(60), Ham(180)) isokinetic maximum peak torque (Nm) at 60 degrees /s and 180 degrees /s, respectively.
Results: Triple-hop distance was a strong predictor of vertical jump height, explaining 69.5% of the variance (P < .01). THD also predicted 56.7% of the variance in Ham(60) (P < .01), 55.5% of the variance in Ham(180) (P < .01), 49.0% of the variance in Quad(60) (P < .01), and 58.8% of the variance in Quad(180) (P < .01). No relationships between THD and BESS scores were noted.
Conclusions: Triple-hop distance is a useful clinical test to predict an athlete's lower extremity strength and power. Although THD was not a predictor of static balance, further research is needed to examine its relationship with more dynamic balance tests.
Keywords: balance; functional performance tests; open kinetic chain exercises; peak torque; postural stability.