The trampoline aftereffect: the motor and sensory modulations associated with jumping on an elastic surface

Exp Brain Res. 2010 Aug;204(4):575-84. doi: 10.1007/s00221-010-2324-1. Epub 2010 Jun 17.


After repeated jumps over an elastic surface (e.g. a trampoline), subjects usually report a strange sensation when they jump again overground (e.g. they feel unable to jump because their body feels heavy). However, the motor and sensory effects of exposure to an elastic surface are unknown. In the present study, we examined the motor and perceptual effects of repeated jumps over two different surfaces (stiff and elastic), measuring how this affected maximal countermovement vertical jump (CMJ). Fourteen subjects participated in two counterbalanced sessions, 1 week apart. Each experimental session consisted of a series of maximal CMJs over a force plate before and after 1 min of light jumping on an elastic or stiff surface. We measured actual motor performance (height jump and leg stiffness during CMJ) and how that related to perceptual experience (jump height estimation and subjective sensation). After repeated jumps on an elastic surface, the first CMJ showed a significant increase in leg stiffness (P < or = 0.01), decrease in jump height (P < or = 0.01) increase in perceptual misestimation (P < or = 0.05) and abnormal subjective sensation (P < or = 0.001). These changes were not observed after repeated jumps on a rigid surface. In a complementary experiment, continuous surface transitions show that the effects persist across cycles, and the effects over the leg stiffness and subjective experience are minimized (P < or = 0.05). We propose that these aftereffects could be the consequence of an erroneous internal model resulting from the high vertical forces produced by the elastic surface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Sports
  • Young Adult