Effects of a Combined Upper- and Lower-Limb Plyometric Training Program on High-Intensity Actions in Female U14 Handball Players

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Purpose: To analyze the effects of a 9-week plyometric training program on the sprint times (5, 10, 20, and 30 m), change-of-direction speed (modified T test and modified Illinois test), jumping (squat jump, countermovement jump, countermovement jump with arms, and horizontal 5-jump test), upper-body strength (right and left handgrip, back extensor strength, and medicine ball throw), and balance (Y and stork balance tests) of female handball players. Methods: Athletes were randomly divided into experimental (n = 21; age = 13.5 [0.3] y) and control (n = 20; age = 13.3 [0.3] y) groups. Training exercises and matches were performed together, but the experimental group replaced a part of their normal regimen by biweekly upper- and lower-limb plyometric training. Results: Both groups improved performance, but to a greater extent in the experimental group compared with controls for 20- and 30-m sprint times (Δ% = 9.6, P < .05, d = 0.557 and Δ% = 20.9, P < .001, d = 1.07, respectively), change of direction (T test: P < .01, Δ% = 14.5, d = 0.993 and Illinois test: P < .01, Δ% = 7.9, d = 0.769), vertical and horizontal jumping (P < .05), all measures of upper-limb strength (P < .001), and left-leg stork balance (P < .001, Δ% = 49.9, d = 1.07). Conclusions: A plyometric training program allows female junior handball players to improve important components of their physical performance.

Hammami, Gaamouri, Aloui, and Chelly are with Research Unit (UR17JS01), Sport Performance, Health & Society, Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar Saîd, University of “La Manouba,” Tunis, Tunisia. Hammami, Gaamouri, and Chelly are also with the Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar Said, University of “La Manouba,” Tunis, Tunisia. Ramirez-Campillo is with the Laboratory of Human Performance, Quality of Life and Wellness Research Group, Department of Physical Activity Sciences, Universidad de Los Lagos, Osorno, Chile. Shephard is with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Ramirez-Campillo (r.ramirez@ulagos.cl) is corresponding author.
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