The relation between the eccentric force developed during a countermovement and the mechanical power output was studied in squatting exercises under nominally isotonic lead (50% of 1-repetition maximum). The subjects (n = 5) performed squatting exercises with a countermovement at varied deceleration rates before lifting the lead. The ground reaction force and video images were recorded to obtain the power output of the body. Net muscle moments acting at hip, knee, and ankle joints were calculated from video recordings by using inverse dynamics. When an intense deceleration was taken at the end of downward movement, large eccentric force was developed, and the mechanical power subsequently produced during the lifting movement was consistently larger than that produced without the countermovement. Both maximal and mean power outputs during concentric actions increased initially with the eccentric force, whereas they began to decline when the eccentric force exceeded ~1.4 times the sum of load and body weight. Video-image analysis showed that this characteristic relation was predominantly determined by the torque around the knee joint. Electromyographic analyses showed no consistent increase in time-averaged integrated electromyograph from vastus lateralis with the power output, suggesting that the enhancement of power output is primarily caused by the prestretch-induced improvement of an intrinsic force-generating capability of the agonist muscle.
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