Background The loaded countermovement jump (CMJ) is a variation on the normal CMJ (bodyweight-only), used routinely in sport settings as a measure of neuromuscular fatigue (NMF). Although commonplace, the CMJ variables that are most sensitive to NMF remain somewhat unclear.
Purpose The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between changes in workload and changes in the loaded CMJ; specifically, to determine its suitability for assessment of NMF.
Methods Eighteen professional rugby union players performed loaded CMJ tests on seven occasions over the course of thirteen weeks, during an English top-flight season. Eight CMJ variables were measured, assessing different aspects of the CMJ. Workload was measured by GPS total distance and was the sum of the previous week’s data, recorded in on-field training and match-play. Spearman’s rank-order correlations were calculated to identify the relationship between changes in workload and changes in loaded CMJ variables.
Results No significant relationships were found between loaded CMJ variables and workload with no lag or workload lagged one week. Significant relationships were found between workload lagged 2 weeks and flight time/contact time (FT-CT; rs =-0.35; p =0.04) and time to peak power (TtPP; rs =0.35; p=0.05).
Conclusion This study suggests loaded CMJ is not a suitable test to monitor acute changes to NMF. However, results also indicate that FT-CT and TtPP, are associated with changes in workload lagged 2-weeks. Therefore, certain CMJ variables may prove useful to help prescribe alterations to athlete training plans following periods of heavy workload.
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