Two-Legged People Can’t Jump

Given that it has long been reported in the academic literature that humans achieve less than twice the jump height in a two-leg jump than they do in a one-leg jump, I found the following paper from the Journal of Applied Physiology fascinating:

Explanation of the bilateral deficit in human vertical squat jumping

In the literature, it has been reported that the mechanical output per leg is less in two-leg jumps than in one-leg jumps. This so-called bilateral deficit has been attributed to a reduced neural drive to muscles in two-leg jumps. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the possible contribution of nonneural factors to the bilateral deficit in jumping.

…Both in the subjects and in the model, the work of the right leg was more than 20% less in the two-leg jump than in the one-leg jump.

…It was concluded that the bilateral deficit in jumping is primarily caused by the force-velocity relationship rather than by a reduction of neural drive.

In other words, it’s not that you’re not trying as hard when you jump with more (i.e., two) legs, it’s that you lose too much power to crummy coordination. Reminds me of some companies I know.

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