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To compare the effects of unilateral and bilateral resistance training on single-leg power output, between-limbs imbalance (BLI), bilateral deficit (BLD), change of direction (COD), and linear sprinting and jumping performance in young elite basketball players.
Twenty-two young (U-16–U-19) male basketball players were randomly assigned either to an exclusive unilateral (UNI) (n = 11) or a bilateral (BIL) (n = 11) resistance-training group during a 6-wk period. Both groups training consisted of 3 unilateral or bilateral 90° back-squat sets. A postdetermined number of repetitions was set until power output dropped to <10% of maximum power (MP) output. In addition, both groups performed 2 sets of 5 unilateral or bilateral drop jumps and 2 sets of 5 unilateral or bilateral countermovement jumps (CMJ). Pre- and posttraining, performance was assessed by an incremental bilateral and unilateral squat-load test, a multiple-COD test (V-cut test), a 15-m-sprint test (7.5 + 7.5 m) with one 180° COD performed with both right (180° RCOD) and left (180° LCOD) legs, a 25-m-sprint test (5- and 15-m split time), and a CMJ test.
Within-group analyses showed substantial improvements in 180° RCOD, bilateral and unilateral MP, 25-m-sprint test, and CMJ in both groups. Between-groups analyses showed substantially better results in 180° LCOD, MP with right and left legs, BLI, and BLD in UNI than in BIL.
Both training programs substantially improved most of the physical-fitness tests, but only UNI reduced between-limbs asymmetry and achieved greater enhancements in actions that mostly required applying force unilaterally in basketball players.
Gonzalo-Skok and Arjol-Serrano are with the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of San Jorge, Zaragoza, Spain. Tous-Fajardo is with the Strength and Conditioning Dept, Italian National Team (FIGC), CTF Coverciano, Italy. Suarez-Arrones is with the Faculty of Sport, Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain. Casajús is with the Growth, Exercise, Nutrition and Development Research Group, Zaragoza, Spain. Mendez-Villanueva is with ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar.