Although the influence of the series elastic element of the muscle–tendon unit on jump performance has been investigated, the corresponding effect of the parallel elastic element remains unclear. This study examined the relationship between the resting calf muscle stiffness and drop jump performance. Twenty-four healthy men participated in this study. The shear moduli of the medial gastrocnemius and the soleus were measured at rest as an index of muscle stiffness using ultrasound shear wave elastography. The participants performed drop jumps from a 15 cm high box. The Spearman rank correlation coefficient was used to examine the relationships between shear moduli of the muscles and drop jump performance. The medial gastrocnemius shear modulus showed a significant correlation with the drop jump index (jump height/contact time) (r = 0.414, P = 0.044) and jump height (r = 0.411, P = 0.046), but not with contact time (P > 0.05). The soleus shear modulus did not correlate with these jump parameters (P > 0.05). These results suggest that the resting medial gastrocnemius stiffness can be considered as one of the factors that influence drop jump performance. Therefore, increase in resting muscle stiffness should enhance explosive athletic performance in training regimens.
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