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Abstract

International Journal of Exercise Science 5(4) : 334-343, 2012. Plyometric research in the upper extremity is limited, with the effects of open-chain plyometric exercises being studied most. Kinematic and ground reaction force data concerning closed-chain upper extremity plyometrics has yet to be examined. Twenty-one recreationally active male subjects performed four variations of plyometric push-ups in a counterbalanced order. These included box drop push-ups from 3.8 cm, 7.6 cm, 11.4 cm heights, and clap push-ups. Kinematics of the trunk, dominant extremity and both hands were collected to examine peak flight, elbow flexion at ground contact, elbow displacement, and hand separation. Additionally peak vertical ground reaction force was measured under the dominant extremity. The 11.4 cm and clap push-ups had significantly higher peak flight than the other variations (P<.001). At ground contact, the elbow was in significantly greater flexion for the 3.8 cm and clap push-up compared to the other variations (P<.001). The clap push-up had significantly more elbow displacement than the other variations (P<.001) while hand separation was not significantly different between variations (P=.129). Peak vertical ground reaction force was significantly greater for the clap push-ups than for all other variations (P< .001). Despite similar flight heights between the 11.4 cm and clap push-ups, the greater peak vertical ground reaction force and elbow displacement of the clap push-ups indicates the clap push-up is the most intense of the variations examined. Understanding the kinematic variables involved will aid in the creation of a closed chain upper-extremity plyometric progression.