stretch-shortening cycle

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A common movement pattern that increases the power generated by a muscle group. The stretch-shortening cycle consists of a combination of the three types of muscle action; an eccentric action followed by a static (isometric) action, then a concentric action of the same muscle group. The combined actions exert greater force or power output than movements produced by concentric actions alone. The enhanced force generation is probably due to the elastic behaviour of muscle components during and immediately after the eccentric action. The stretch-shortening cycle is taken advantage of in many sport activities, for example, when a counter movement or bob-down movement is performed before a jump, and when a wind-up movement is performed before a throw. See also shock exercise.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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