Hum Mov Sci 2010 Jun 21;29(3):440-8. Epub 2010 Apr 21.
Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences, University of Nevada, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3034, USA.
Jump height is increased when performers are given external focus instructions, relative to an internal focus or no focus instructions (Wulf & Dufek, 2009; Wulf, Zachry, Granados, & Dufek, 2007). The purpose of present study was to examine possible underlying neurophysiological mechanisms of this effect by using electromyography (EMG). Participants performed a vertical jump-and-reach task under two conditions in a counterbalanced order: external focus (i.e., focus on the rungs of the measurement device) and internal focus (i.e., focus on the fingers with which the rungs were to be touched). EMG activity of various muscles (anterior tibialis, biceps femoris, vastus lateralis, rectus femoris, gastrocnemius) was measured during jumps. Jump height was greater with an external compared to an internal focus. While there were no differences in muscle onset times between attentional focus conditions, EMG activity was generally lower with an external focus. These results suggest that neuromuscular coordination is enhanced by an external focus of attention. The present findings add to the evidence that an external focus facilitates the production of effective and efficient movement patterns.
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