Plyometrics' Trainability in Preadolescent Soccer Athletes

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Michailidis, Y, Fatouros, IG, Primpa, E, Michailidis, C, Avloniti, A, Chatzinikolaou, A, Barbero-Álvarez, JC, Tsoukas, D, Douroudos, II, Draganidis, D, Leontsini, D, Margonis, K, Berberidou, F, and Kambas, A. Plyometrics' trainability in preadolescent soccer athletes. J Strength Cond Res 27(1): 38–49, 2013—Plyometric training (PT) is a widely used method to improve muscle ability to generate explosive power. This study aimed to determine whether preadolescent boys exhibit plyometric trainability or not. Forty-five children were randomly assigned to either a control (CG, N = 21, 10.6 ± 0.5 years; participated only in regular soccer practice) or a plyometric training group (PTG, N = 24, 10.6 ± 0.6 years; participated in regular soccer practice plus a plyometric exercise protocol). Both groups trained for 12 weeks during the in-season period. The PT exercises (forward hopping, lateral hopping, shuffles, skipping, ladder drills, skipping, box jumps, low-intensity depth jumps) were performed twice a week. Preadolescence was verified by measuring Tanner stages, bone age, and serum testosterone. Speed (0–10, 10–20, 20–30 m), leg muscle power (static jumping, countermovement jumping, depth jumping [DJ], standing long jump [SLJ], multiple 5-bound hopping [MB5]), leg strength (10 repetition maximum), anaerobic power (Wingate testing), and soccer-specific performance (agility, kicking distance) were measured at baseline, midtraining, and posttraining. The CG caused only a modest (1.2–1.8%) increase in speed posttraining. The PTG induced a marked (p < 0.05) improvement in all speed tests (1.9–3.1% at midtraining and 3–5% at posttraining) and vertical jump tests (10–18.5% at midtraining and 16–23% at posttraining), SLJ (2.6% at midtraining and 4.2% at posttraining), MB5 (14.6% at midtraining and 23% at posttraining), leg strength (15% at midtraining and 28% at posttraining), agility (5% at midtraining and 23% at posttraining), and kicking distance (13.6% at midtraining and 22.5% at posttraining). Anaerobic power remained unaffected in both groups. These data indicate that (a) prepubertal boys exhibit considerable plyometric trainability, and (b) when soccer practice is supplemented with a PT protocol, it leads to greater performance gains.

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