Improving leaping ability in elite rhythmic gymnasts

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Improving leaping ability in elite rhythmic gymnasts. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 30, No. 10, pp. 1543-1547, 1998.Purpose:The purpose of this study was to improve the leaping ability of athletes in rhythmic gymnastics, a high leap demanding sport, using a controlled course of jump training.Methods:Six elite athletes underwent a course of leap training including pool training and Pilates' Method of Body Conditioning using spring controlled resistance to muscular exertion. Baseline data was obtained on a force plate that measured reaction time, leap height, and explosive power on each athlete before initiating training.Results:After 1 month of training, leap height improved 16.2%, ground reaction time improved 50%, and explosive power improved 220%. With continued maintenance training, no decrease in effect was noted; however, no significant improvement occurred after the first month of training. At 1 yr with discontinuation of the leaping protocol but continued training within the sport, the initial gains were likewise maintained. No injuries occurred during participation in the leaping protocol.Conclusions:Elite rhythmic gymnasts can safely improve their leaping ability significantly through an intense course of jump training. Continued training with the leaping protocol does not appear to further enhance the benefit; however, the gains appear to be maintained at 4 months and 1 yr post training with or without additional training with the leaping protocol.

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