The effects of arms and countermovement on vertical jumping

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1990 Dec;22(6):825-33. doi: 10.1249/00005768-199012000-00015.


Countermovement and arm-swing characterize most jumping. For determination of their effects and interaction, 18 males jumped for maximal height from a force platform in all four combinations of arm-swing/no-arm-swing and countermovement/no-countermovement. For all jumps, vertical velocity peaked 0.03 s before and dropped 6-7% by takeoff. Peak positive power averaged over 3,000 W, and occurred about 0.07 s before takeoff, shortly after peak vertical ground reaction force (VGRF) and just before peak vertical velocity. Both countermovement and arm-swing significantly (P less than 0.05) improved jump height, but arm-swing's effect was greater, enhancing peak total body center of mass (TBCM) rise both pre and posttakeoff. Countermovement only affected the post-takeoff rise. The arm-swing resulted in higher peak VGRF and peak positive power. During countermovement, the use of arms resulted in less unweighting, slower and less extensive TBCM drop, and less negative power. Countermovement increased pretakeoff jump duration by 71-76%, increased average positive power, and yielded large positive and negative impulses. High test-retest reliability was shown for jump descriptive variables. Body weight together with peak posttakeoff TBCM rise effectively predicted peak power (multiple R2 = 0.89, standard error of estimate = 243 W). The results lend insight into which jumping techniques are most appropriate for given sports situations and indicate that a jump test can effectively be used to estimate peak power output.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Regression Analysis