The effect of varying plyometric volume on stretch-shortening cycle capability in collegiate male rugby players

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The purpose of this study was to identify the effectiveness of low and high volume plyometric loads on developing stretch shortening cycle capability in collegiate rugby players. A between- group repeated measures design was used. Thirty six subjects (age 20.3 ±1.6 yrs, mass 91.63 ±10.36kg, stature 182.03 ±5.24cm) were randomly assigned to one of three groups, a control group (CG), a low volume plyometric group (LPG) or a high volume plyometric group (HPG). Data were collected from a force plate, and measures of reactive strength index (RSI) and leg stiffness were calculated from jump height, contact time and flight time. A significant between group × time (F = 4.01, P <0.05) interaction effect for RSI was observed. Bonferroni post hoc analysis indicated that both the LPG training group (P = 0.002) and HPG training group (P = 0.009) were significantly higher than the control group. No significant interaction effect between time × group were observed for leg stiffness (F = 1.39, P = 0.25). The current study has demonstrated that it is possible to improve reactive strength capabilities via the use of a low volume plyometric program. The low volume program elicited the same performance improvement in RSI as a high volume program whilst undertaking a lower dose. This suggests that strength and conditioning coaches may be able to benefit from the ability to develop more time efficient and effective plyometric programs.

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