Relationship between Muscle Strength and Jump Rotation in Figure Skaters
Background:As the sport of figure skating has advanced, jump difficulty of top competitors has increased drastically. While elite competitive figure skaters execute quadruple jumps on the world competition stage, coaches at all levels seek to devise an optimal training program to improve jump rotation. The purpose of this study was to determine if the abdominal muscles play a significant role in affecting the number of jump rotations a figure skater can complete. Vertical jump height (VJ) of skaters was also assessed to determine if this measurement was another indicator of a figure skater’s rotational capability.
Methods: Fifteen female figure skaters (age, yrs: 19.476 ± 2.748; ht, cm: 162.8 ± 9.60; wt, kg: 59.43 ± 6.69) with consistent jumps ranging from one to three rotations volunteered for this pilot study. The strength of the skater’s rectus abdominis and left and right external oblique muscles were measured three times each using a Lafayette manual muscle tester (MMT). VJ was assessed three times through a dry-land VJ test. Data collected from the MMT and the VJ test, along with the skater’s highest level of on-ice rotation was analyzed using a Pearson Product Moment correlation test in Minitab 16.
Results: Statistical analysis resulted in no significant correlation between rectus abdominis strength and maximum jump rotation (MJR) (r=-0.347, p=0.206). No significant correlations were found between right external oblique strength and MJR (r=-0.201, p=0.473) or between left external oblique strength and MJR (r= -0.301, p=0.276). A very high positive correlation between VJ and MJR was found (r = .917, p=0.000,). A paired t-test established no difference between the skater’s right and left external oblique strength (p= 0.796).
Conclusions: VJ was found to be a significant indicator of increased rotational capability in female figure skaters. In the future, testing additional subjects, particularly elite level figure skaters, would be necessary to conclusively determine the relationship between muscle strength and MJR. Future research linking muscle strength and MJR may aid in the development of effective off-ice training programs for figure skaters attempting multi-rotation jumps.