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Muscle Adaptations to Plyometric vs. Resistance Training in Untrained Young Men

Vissing, Kristian1; Brink, Mads1,4; Lønbro, Simon1,4; Sørensen, Henrik1; Overgaard, Kristian1; Danborg, Kasper1; Mortensen, Jesper1; Elstrøm, Ole1; Rosenhøj, Nikolaj1; Ringgaard, Steffen2; Andersen, Jesper L3; Aagaard, Per3,4

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2008 - Volume 22 - Issue 6 - pp 1799-1810
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318185f673
Original Research

Vissing, K, Brink, M, Lønbro, S, Sørensen, H, Overgaard, K, Danborg, K, Mortensen, J, Elstrøm, O, Rosenhøj, N, Ringgaard, S, Andersen, JL, and Aagaard, P. Muscle adaptations to plyometric vs. resistance training in untrained young men. J Strength Cond Res 22(6): 1799-1810, 2008-The purpose of this study was to compare changes in muscle strength, power, and morphology induced by conventional strength training vs. plyometric training of equal time and effort requirements. Young, untrained men performed 12 weeks of progressive conventional resistance training (CRT, n = 8) or plyometric training (PT, n = 7). Tests before and after training included one-repetition maximum (1 RM) incline leg press, 3 RM knee extension, and 1 RM knee flexion, countermovement jumping (CMJ), and ballistic incline leg press. Also, before and after training, magnetic resonance imaging scanning was performed for the thigh, and a muscle biopsy was sampled from the vastus lateralis muscle. Muscle strength increased by approximately 20-30% (1-3 RM tests) (p < 0.001), with CRT showing 50% greater improvement in hamstring strength than PT (p < 0.01). Plyometric training increased maximum CMJ height (10%) and maximal power (Pmax; 9%) during CMJ (p < 0.01) and Pmax in ballistic leg press (17%) (p < 0.001). This was far greater than for CRT (p < 0.01), which only increased Pmax during the ballistic leg press (4%) (p < 0.05). Quadriceps, hamstring, and adductor whole-muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) increased equally (7-10%) with CRT and PT (p < 0.001). For fiber CSA analysis, some of the biopsies had to be omitted. Type I and IIa fiber CSA increased in CRT (n = 4) by 32 and 49%, respectively (p < 0.05), whereas no significant changes occurred for PT (n = 5). Myosin heavy-chain IIX content decreased from 11 to 6%, with no difference between CRT and PT. In conclusion, gross muscle size increased both by PT and CRT, whereas only CRT seemed to increase muscle fiber CSA. Gains in maximal muscle strength were essentially similar between groups, whereas muscle power increased almost exclusively with PT training.

1Department of Sport Science, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark; 2MR-Research Centre, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; 3Institute of Sports Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; and 4Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Address correspondence to Kristian Vissing,

© 2008 National Strength and Conditioning Association