THE EFFCTS OF A SHORT TERM PLYOMETRICS INTERVENTION ON RUNNING PERFORMANCE
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of plyometric training on running performance in male and female, middle and long distance runners. Fifteen university level runners (19.8 +1.0) years with a minimum of three years of endurance training history were assigned to either experimental group (n=8 or control group (n=7). The experimental group completed their standard endurance training and two additional plyometrics training sessions that lasted no longer than 30 minutes. The control group completed their standard endurance training only (average 29.5 miles in the control group and 24.5 mile in the experimental). Leg stiffness was tested using a submaximal hopping test and endurance was measured using a 3000m time trial both pre and post 4 week intervention. Neither the experimental or control group showed any significant improvement in leg stiffness or time trial times. However, the experimental group showed a positive trend, whereby improvements in leg stiffness and 3km time trial increased by 8.5% and 5.6% respectively, compared to control group improvements of 3.0% in leg stiffness and 0.03% in 3km time trial. Therefore this study rejects the hypothesis of a 4-week plyometrics intervention significantly improving running performance in middle and long distance runners. This may be due to the fact that the intervention took place during a competitive point in their training year, and therefore mileage was low and participants were often fatigued, which could have minimised the affect of the neuromuscular adaptations. Future research should investigate the effect of substituting a small percentage of endurance training with plyometrics. As well having a higher frequency of resistance training with a sessions containing predominantly fast stretch shortening cycle.
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