Effects of lower-limb plyometric training on body composition, explosive strength, and kicking speed in female soccer players

Silvia Sedano Campo, Roel Vaeyens, Renaat M Philippaerts, Juan Carlos Redondo, Ana María de Benito, Gonzalo Cuadrado
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2009, 23 (6): 1714-22
The aim of the present study was to examine how explosive strength, kicking speed, and body composition are affected by a 12-week plyometric training program in elite female soccer players. The hypothesis was that this program would increase the jumping ability and kicking speed and that these gains could be maintained by means of regular soccer training only. Twenty adult female players were divided into 2 groups: control group (CG, n = 10, age 23.0 +/- 3.2 yr) and plyometric group (PG, n = 10; age 22.8 +/- 2.1 yr). The intervention was carried out during the second part of the competitive season. Both groups performed technical and tactical training exercises and matches together. However, the CG followed the regular soccer physical conditioning program, which was replaced by a plyometric program for PG. Neither CG nor PG performed weight training. Plyometric training took place 3 days a week for 12 weeks including jumps over hurdles, drop jumps (DJ) in stands, or horizontal jumps. Body mass, body composition, countermovement jump height, DJ height, and kicking speed were measured on 4 separate occasions. The PG demonstrated significant increases (p < 0.05) in jumping ability after 6 weeks of training and in kicking speed after 12 weeks. There were no significant time x group interaction effects for body composition. It could be concluded that a 12-week plyometric program can improve explosive strength in female soccer players and that these improvements can be transferred to soccer kick performance in terms of ball speed. However, players need time to transfer these improvements in strength to the specific task. Regular soccer training can maintain the improvements from a plyometric training program for several weeks.

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