A stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) underlies every athletic movement and represents one of the prime determinants of distinguishing elite athletes. This amazing process is what allows an athlete to jump higher with a running approach versus a standing jump. The SSC can be defined as an active stretch (loading down portion of the jump), followed by an immediate shortening of that same muscle to cause the body to extend upwards and leave the ground.
While there is no doubt that this SSC increases the power of any movement, researchers are still debating as to the precise cause of this enhancement, though there is a consensus that it is not muscle alone that drives the process and other structures like the tendons and nerves . Therefore, a good use of the SSC will also increase fitness because this process uses less energy than relying on muscle alone, allowing a more efficient utlization of the body's energy stores.