Comparison of Methods That Assess Lower-body Stretch-Shortening Cycle Utilization

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The purpose of this study was to compare 4 methods that assess the lower-body stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) utilization of athletes. Eighty-six National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I athletes from 6 different sports performed 2 squat jumps and 2 countermovement jumps on a force platform. Pre-stretch augmentation percentage (PSAP), eccentric utilization ratio (EUR), and reactive strength (RS) for jump height (JH) and peak power (PP) magnitudes, and reactive strength index–modified (RSImod) were calculated for each team. A series of one-way analyses of variance with a Holm-Bonferroni sequential adjustment were used to compare differences in PSAP, EUR, RS, and RSImod between teams. Statistical differences in RSImod (p < 0.001) existed between teams, whereas no statistical differences in PSAP-JH (p = 0.150), PSAP-PP (p = 0.200), EUR-JH (p = 0.150), EUR-PP (p = 0.200), RS-JH (p = 0.031), or RS-PP (p = 0.381) were present. The relationships between PSAP, EUR, and RS measures were all statistically significant and ranged from strong to nearly perfect (r = 0.569–1.000), while most of the relationships between PSAP, EUR, and RS measures and RSImod were trivial to small (r = 0.192–0.282). Pre-stretch augmentation percentage and EUR, RS, and RSImod values indicate that women's tennis, men's soccer, and men's soccer teams may use the SSC most effectively, respectively. Pre-stretch augmentation percentage, EUR, RS, and RSImod values may show vastly different results when comparing an individual's and a team's ability to use the SSC. Practitioners should consider using RSImod to monitor the SSC utilization of athletes due to its timing component.