Vertically and horizontally directed muscle power exercises: Relationships with top-level sprint performance

PLoS One. 2018 Jul 26;13(7):e0201475. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201475. eCollection 2018.


The capacity to rapidly generate and apply a great amount of force seems to play a key role in sprint running. However, it has recently been shown that, for sprinters, the technical ability to effectively orient the force onto the ground is more important than its total amount. The force-vector theory has been proposed to guide coaches in selecting the most adequate exercises to comprehensively develop the neuromechanical qualities related to the distinct phases of sprinting. This study aimed to compare the relationships between vertically-directed (loaded and unloaded vertical jumps, and half-squat) and horizontally-directed (hip-thrust) exercises and the sprint performance of top-level track and field athletes. Sixteen sprinters and jumpers (including three Olympic athletes) executed vertical jumps, loaded jump squats and hip-thrusts, and sprinting speed tests at 10-, 20-, 40-, 60-, 100-, and 150-m. Results indicated that the hip-thrust is more associated with the maximum acceleration phase (i.e., from zero to 10-m; r = 0.93), whereas the loaded and unloaded vertical jumps seem to be more related to top-speed phases (i.e., distances superior to 40-m; r varying from 0.88 to 0.96). These findings reinforce the mechanical concepts supporting the force-vector theory, and provide coaches and sport scientists with valuable information about the potential use and benefits of using vertically- or horizontally-based training exercises.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance* / physiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Running* / physiology
  • Track and Field
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

The researchers Victor Fernandes, Neilton Moura, Felipe Siqueira, and Ciro Winckler of the study entitled: “Vertically and horizontally directed muscle power exercises: relationships with top-level sprint performance”, declare that they have commercial affiliation with the following funders: B3 Track & Field Club, São Paulo, Brazil; ADAPT - Association of High-Performance Training & Sports Development, São Paulo, Brazil; Pinheiros Sport Club, São Paulo, Brazil; Brazilian Paralympic Committee, São Paulo, Brazil. The funder provided support in the form of salaries for authors VF, NM, FS, CW, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the 'author contributions' section. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.