I've been working this idea like crazy over the last month or so in my Baguazhang classes and my own experiments. Probably because of my skateboarding background. Skateboarding tricks where you jump up on a railing and ride down the stairs are only possible with some theory of pre-activation, because the first few times you risk trying it, you are going to fall hard and fast on something unpleasant.
Here is the quote that got me thinking:
When I teach patients or athletes how to integrate foot to core sequencing into their programming my ultimate goal is to establish reflexive motor patterns between foot contact and core stabilization.
Nigg et al. has demonstrated that closed chain neuromuscular stabilization patterns actually occur before foot contact in what are referred to as pre-activation responses. This means that instead of reacting to movement the neuromuscular actually anticipates or pre-stabilizes for movement.
One such study by Nigg et al. has shown that foot & ankle stabilizers activate 100ms before foot contact in runners. This pre-activation response allows the foot and core to stabilize against impact forces allowing for faster loading responses. In the gymnast faster foot to core sequencing would mean improved joint stability, faster loading responses and optimal performance.
I've been working fast repetitions of ground-reaction-force with weights. I'll try to make some videos because this stuff ties into YIquan beautifully.