The Combination of Plyometric and Balance Training Improves Sprint and Shuttle Run Performances More Often Than Plyometric-Only Training With Children

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Chaouachi, A, Othman, AB, Hammami, R, Drinkwater, EJ, and Behm, DG. The combination of plyometric and balance training improves sprint and shuttle run performances more often than plyometric-only training with children. J Strength Cond Res 28(2): 401–412, 2014—Because balance is not fully developed in children and studies have shown functional improvements with balance only training studies, a combination of plyometric and balance activities might enhance static balance, dynamic balance, and power. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of plyometric only (PLYO) with balance and plyometric (COMBINED) training on balance and power measures in children. Before and after an 8-week training period, testing assessed lower-body strength (1 repetition maximum leg press), power (horizontal and vertical jumps, triple hop for distance, reactive strength, and leg stiffness), running speed (10-m and 30-m sprint), static and dynamic balance (Standing Stork Test and Star Excursion Balance Test), and agility (shuttle run). Subjects were randomly divided into 2 training groups (PLYO [n = 14] and COMBINED [n = 14]) and a control group (n = 12). Results based on magnitude-based inferences and precision of estimation indicated that the COMBINED training group was considered likely to be superior to the PLYO group in leg stiffness (d = 0.69, 91% likely), 10-m sprint (d = 0.57, 84% likely), and shuttle run (d = 0.52, 80% likely). The difference between the groups was unclear in 8 of the 11 dependent variables. COMBINED training enhanced activities such as 10-m sprints and shuttle runs to a greater degree. COMBINED training could be an important consideration for reducing the high velocity impacts of PLYO training. This reduction in stretch-shortening cycle stress on neuromuscular system with the replacement of balance and landing exercises might help to alleviate the overtraining effects of excessive repetitive high load activities.

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