A Comparison of 3 Different Unilateral Strength Training Strategies to Enhance Jumping Performance and Decrease Interlimb Asymmetries in Soccer Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To compare the effects of performing different unilateral strength training interventions on unilateral and bilateral jumping performance and their related asymmetries in young soccer players. Methods: Forty-five young (U-17) male soccer players were randomly assigned to 3 eccentric overload training programs. The first group executed the same volume with both legs starting with the weaker leg (SVW, n = 15); the second group carried out double volume with the weaker leg and also starting with the weaker leg (DVW, n = 15); and the third group performed the same volume with both legs starting with the stronger leg (SVS, n = 15). Jumping-performance assessment included a single-leg horizontal jump test, a triple single-leg horizontal jump test, a bilateral countermovement jump (CMJ) test, and a unilateral CMJ test. Asymmetries were also analyzed in the unilateral jumping tests. Results: CMJ was improved (effect size [ES]: 0.27–0.48) and CMJ asymmetry was possibly reduced (ES: 0.08–0.24) in all groups. Substantial improvements were found in triple hop (ES: 0.52–0.71) in SVW and DVW, and triple-hop asymmetry was substantially decreased (ES: 0.88) in DVW. Between-groups analysis showed a substantially better performance in triple hop and horizontal hop with right leg in SVW and DVW compared with SVS. Conclusions: Unilateral strength training programs were shown to substantially improve bilateral jumping performance, while unilateral jumping was substantially enhanced in the groups that started the training session with the weaker leg. Finally, between-limbs asymmetries in the triple hop were mainly reduced through performing double volume with the weaker leg.

Gonzalo-Skok, Moreno-Azze, and Arjol-Serrano are with the Faculty of Health Sciences, San Jorge University, Zaragoza, Spain. Tous-Fajardo is with INEFC Barcelona, Sports Performance Lab, Barcelona, Spain. Bishop is with the London Sport Inst, School of Science and Technology, Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom.

Gonzalo-Skok (ogonzalo@usj.es) is corresponding author.
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