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.
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Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Alejandro Moreno-Azze, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, Julio Tous-Fajardo, and Chris Bishop
Julio Tous-Fajardo, Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, and Per Tesch
To examine the effects of a novel isoinertial eccentric-overload and vibration training (EVT) paradigm on change-ofdirection (COD) speed and multiple performance tests applicable to soccer.
Twenty-four young male players were assigned to an EVT (n = 12) or conventional combined (CONV, n = 12) group, once weekly for 11 wk. EVT consisted of 2 sets of 6–10 repetitions in 5 specific and 3 complementary exercises. CONV used comparable volume (2 sets of 6–10 reps in 3 sequences of 3 exercises) of conventional combined weight, plyometric, and linear speed exercises. Pre- and postintervention tests included 25-m sprint with 4 × 45° COD every 5th m (V-cut test), 10- and 30-m sprints, repeat-sprint ability, countermovement jump, and hopping (RJ5).
Group comparison showed very likely to likely better performance for EVT in the COD (effect size [ES] = 1.42), 30-m (ES = 0.98), 10-m (ES = 1.17), and average power (ES = 0.69) and jump height (ES = 0.69) during RJ5. There was a large (r = –.55) relationship between the increase in average hopping power and the reduced V-cut time.
As EVT, not CONV, improved not only COD ability but also linear speed and reactive jumping, this “proof-of-principle” study suggests that this novel exercise paradigm performed once weekly could serve as a viable adjunct to improve performance tasks specific to soccer.
Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Julio Tous-Fajardo, Luis Suarez-Arrones, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, José Antonio Casajús, and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva
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.
Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Julio Tous-Fajardo, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, Luis Suarez-Arrones, José Antonio Casajús, and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva
To examine the effects of a low-volume repeated-power-ability (RPA) training program on repeated-sprint and changeof-direction (COD) ability and functional jumping performance.
Twenty-two male elite young basketball players (age 16.2 ± 1.2 y, height 190.0 ± 10.0 cm, body mass 82.9 ± 10.1 kg) were randomly assigned either to an RPA-training group (n = 11) or a control group (n = 11). RPA training consisted of leg-press exercise, twice a week for 6 wk, of 1 or 2 blocks of 5 sets × 5 repetitions with 20 s of passive recovery between sets and 3 min between blocks with the load that maximized power output. Before and after training, performance was assessed by a repeated-sprint-ability (RSA) test, a repeated-COD-ability test, a hop for distance, and a drop jump followed by tests of a double unilateral hop with the right and left legs.
Within-group and between-groups differences showed substantial improvements in slowest (RSAs) and mean time (RSAm) on RSA; best, slowest and mean time on repeated-COD ability; and unilateral right and left hop in the RPA group in comparison with control. While best time on RSA showed no improvement in any group, there was a large relationship (r = .68, 90% CI .43;.84) between the relative decrement in RSAm and RSAs, suggesting better sprint maintenance with RPA training. The relative improvements in best and mean repeated-COD ability were very largely correlated (r = .89, 90% CI .77;.94).
Six weeks of low-volume (4–14 min/wk) RPA training improved several physical-fitness tests in basketball players.
Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Julio Tous-Fajardo, Carlos Valero-Campo, César Berzosa, Ana Vanessa Bataller, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, Gerard Moras, and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva
To analyze the effects of 2 different eccentric-overload training (EOT) programs, using a rotational conical pulley, on functional performance in team-sport players. A traditional movement paradigm (ie, squat) including several sets of 1 bilateral and vertical movement was compared with a novel paradigm including a different exercise in each set of unilateral and multi-directional movements.
Forty-eight amateur or semiprofessional team-sport players were randomly assigned to an EOT program including either the same bilateral vertical (CBV, n = 24) movement (squat) or different unilateral multidirectional (VUMD, n = 24) movements. Training programs consisted of 6 sets of 1 exercise (CBV) or 1 set of 6 exercises (VUMD) × 6–10 repetitions with 3 min of passive recovery between sets and exercises, biweekly for 8 wk. Functional-performance assessment included several change-of-direction (COD) tests, a 25-m linear-sprint test, unilateral multidirectional jumping tests (ie, lateral, horizontal, and vertical), and a bilateral vertical-jump test.
Within-group analysis showed substantial improvements in all tests in both groups, with VUMD showing more robust adaptations in pooled COD tests and lateral/horizontal jumping, whereas the opposite occurred in CBV respecting linear sprinting and vertical jumping. Between-groups analyses showed substantially better results in lateral jumps (ES = 0.21), left-leg horizontal jump (ES = 0.35), and 10-m COD with right leg (ES = 0.42) in VUMD than in CBV. In contrast, left-leg countermovement jump (ES = 0.26) was possibly better in CBV than in VUMD.
Eight weeks of EOT induced substantial improvements in functional-performance tests, although the force-vector application may play a key role to develop different and specific functional adaptations.