The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of loaded and unloaded plyometric training strategies on speed and power performance of elite young soccer players. Twenty-three under-17 male soccer players (age: 15.9 ± 1.2 years, height: 178.3 ± 8.1 cm, body-mass (BM): 68.1 ± 9.3 kg) from the same club took part in this study. The athletes were pair-matched in two training groups: loaded vertical and horizontal jumps using an haltere type handheld with a load of 8% of the athletes' body mass (LJ; n = 12) and unloaded vertical and horizontal plyometrics (UJ; n = 11). Sprinting speeds at 5-, 10-, and 20-m, mean propulsive power (MPP)relative to the players' BM in the jump squat exercise, and performance in the squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ) were assessed pre- and post-training period. During the experimental period, soccer players performed 12 plyometric training sessions across a 6-week preseason period. Magnitude based inferences and standardized differences were used for statistical analysis. A very likely increase in the vertical jumps was observed for the LJ group (99/01/00 and 98/02/00 for SJ and CMJ, respectively). In the UJ group alikely increase was observed for both vertical jumps (83/16/01 and 90/10/00, for SJ and CMJ, respectively). Analmost certainly decrease in the sprinting velocities along the 20-m course were found in the LJ group (00/00/100 for all split distances tested). Meanwhile, in the UJ likely to very likely decreases were observed for all sprinting velocities tested (03/18/79, 01/13/86, and 00/04/96, for velocities in 5-, 10-, and 20-m, respectively). No meaningful differences were observed for the MPP in either training group (11/85/04 and 37/55/08 for LJ and UJ, respectively). In summary, under-17 professional soccer players increased jumping ability after a 6-week preseason training program, using loaded or unloaded jumps. Despite these positive adaptations, both plyometric strategies failed to produce worthwhile improvements in maximal speed and power performances, which is possible related to the interference of concurrent training effects. New training strategies should be developed to ensure adequate balance between power and endurance loads throughout short (and high-volume) soccer preseasons.
Fonte: Frontiers in Physiology, in press, 2017.