WILSON, C., KING, M.A. and YEADON, M.R., 2011. The effects of initial conditions and takeoff technique on running jumps for height and distance. Journal of Biomechanics, 44 (12), pp. 2207-2212.
This study used a subject-specific model with eight segments driven by joint torques for forward
dynamics simulation to investigate the effects of initial conditions and takeoff technique on the
performance of running jumps for height and distance. The torque activation profiles were varied
in order to obtain matching simulations for two jumping performances (one for height and one for
distance) by an elite male high jumper, resulting in a simulated peak height of 1.98 m and a
simulated horizontal distance of 4.38 m. The peak height reached / horizontal distance travelled
by the mass centre for the same corresponding initial conditions were then maximized by varying
the activation timings resulting in a peak height of 2.09 m and a horizontal distance of 4.67 m. In
a further two optimizations the initial conditions were interchanged giving a peak height of 1.78 m
and a horizontal distance of 4.03 m. The four optimized simulations show that even with similar
approach speeds the initial conditions at touchdown have a substantial effect on the resulting
performance. Whilst the takeoff phase is clearly important, unless the approach phase and the
subsequent touchdown conditions are close to optimal then a jumper will be unable to compensate
for touchdown condition shortcomings during the short takeoff phase to achieve a performance
close to optimum.