Effects of Plyometric and Resistance Training on Muscle Strength, Explosiveness and Neuromuscular Function in Young Adolescent Soccer Players

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This study examined the effect of 8-weeks of free-weight-resistance (RT) and plyometric (PLYO) training on maximal strength, explosiveness and jump performance compared with no added training (CON), in young male soccer players. Forty-one 11[FIGURE DASH]13-year-old soccer players were divided into three groups (RT, PLYO, CON). All participants completed isometric and dynamic (240°/s) knee extensions pre- and post-training. Peak torque (pT), peak rate of torque development (pRTD), electromechanical-delay (EMD), rate of muscle activation (Q50), m. vastus-lateralis thickness (VLT), and jump performance were examined. pT, pRTD and jump performance significantly improved in both training groups. Training resulted in significant (p<0.05) increases in isometric pT (23.4 vs. 15.8%) and pRTD (15.0 vs. 17.6%), in RT and PLYO, respectively. During dynamic contractions, training resulted in significant increases in pT (12.4 and 10.8% in RT and PLYO, respectively), but not pRTD. Jump performance increased in both training groups (RT=10.0%, PLYO=16.2%), with only PLYO significantly different from CON. Training resulted in significant increases in VLT (RT=6.7%. PLYO=8.1%). There were no significant EMD changes. In conclusion, 8-week free-weight resistance and plyometric training resulted in significant improvements in muscle strength and jump performance. Training resulted in similar muscle hypertrophy in the two training modes, with no clear differences in muscle performance. Plyometric training was more effective in improving jump performance, while free-weight resistance training was more advantageous in improving peak torque, where the stretch reflex was not involved.

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