The aim of the present study was to examine elbow joint extension power-load characteristics with and without a countermovement. Eight male participants performed maximal elbow extensions with and without a countermovement against different loads (0, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5, 10.0, 12.5, and 15.0 kg). Electromyographic activity of the lateral and long heads of the triceps brachii and the biceps brachii muscles was recorded. The average joint power in the concentric phase was significantly enhanced in the countermovement condition at all loads except for 0 kg. The optimal load for the maximal joint power was greater in the countermovement (7.5 kg) than in the no countermovement condition (5.0 kg). Electromyographic activity was unchanged over the intensities and conditions. Our results suggest that the optimal load for the maximal joint power depends on the type of action (i.e. with or without a counter-movement), and that the enhanced joint power in the countermovement condition is due primarily to the storage and utilization of elastic energy.
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