SHORT-TERM PLYOMETRIC TRAINING IMPROVES RUNNING ECONOMY IN HIGHLY TRAINED MIDDLE AND LONG DISTANCE RUNNERS.
SAUNDERS, PHILO U. 1,4; TELFORD, RICHARD D. 2; PYNE, DAVID B. 1; PELTOLA, ESA M. 1,2; CUNNINGHAM, ROSS B. 3; GORE, CHRIS J. 1; HAWLEY, JOHN A. 4
Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.
20(4):947-954, November 2006.
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Fifteen highly trained distance runners ([latin capital V with dot above]O2max 71.1 /- 6.0 ml[middle dot]min-1[middle dot]kg-1, mean /- SD) were randomly assigned to a plyometric training (PLY; n = 7) or control (CON; n = 8) group. In addition to their normal training, the PLY group undertook 3 x 30 minutes PLY sessions per week for 9 weeks. Running economy (RE) was assessed during 3 x 4 minute treadmill runs (14, 16, and 18 km[middle dot]h-1), followed by an incremental test to measure [latin capital V with dot above]O2max. Muscle power characteristics were assessed on a portable, unidirectional ground reaction force plate. Compared with CON, PLY improved RE at 18 km[middle dot]h-1 (4.1%, p = 0.02), but not at 14 or 16 km[middle dot]h-1. This was accompanied by trends for increased average power during a 5-jump plyometric test (15%, p = 0.11), a shorter time to reach maximal dynamic strength during a strength quality assessment test (14%, p = 0.09), and a lower [latin capital V with dot above]O2-speed slope (14%, p = 0.12) after 9 weeks of PLY. There were no significant differences in cardiorespiratory measures or [latin capital V with dot above]O2max as a result of PLY. In a group of highly-trained distance runners, 9 weeks of PLY improved RE, with likely mechanisms residing in the muscle, or alternatively by improving running mechanics.
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