Knee stiffness is a major determinant of leg stiffness during maximal hopping

J Biomech. 2009 Aug 7;42(11):1768-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.04.047. Epub 2009 May 31.


Understanding stiffness of the lower extremities during human movement may provide important information for developing more effective training methods during sports activities. It has been reported that leg stiffness during submaximal hopping depends primarily on ankle stiffness, but the way stiffness is regulated in maximal hopping is unknown. The goal of this study was to examine the hypothesis that knee stiffness is a major determinant of leg stiffness during the maximal hopping. Ten well-trained male athletes performed two-legged hopping in place with a maximal effort. We determined leg and joint stiffness of the hip, knee, and ankle from kinetic and kinematic data. Knee stiffness was significantly higher than ankle and hip stiffness. Further, the regression model revealed that only knee stiffness was significantly correlated with leg stiffness. The results of the present study suggest that the knee stiffness, rather than those of the ankle or hip, is the major determinant of leg stiffness during maximal hopping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint
  • Athletes
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Hip
  • Humans
  • Joints
  • Kinetics
  • Knee / anatomy & histology*
  • Knee / physiopathology
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Regression Analysis
  • Time Factors