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A Systematic Review: Plyometric Training Programs for Young Children

Johnson, Barbara A; Salzberg, Charles L; Stevenson, David A

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: September 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 9 - pp 2623-2633
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318204caa0
Brief Review

Johnson, BA, Salzberg, CL, and Stevenson, DA. A systematic review: plyometric training programs for young children. J Strength Cond Res 25(9): 2623-2633, 2011—The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of plyometric training for improving motor performance in young children; to determine if this type of training could be used to improve the strength, running speed, agility, and jumping ability of children with low motor competence; and to examine the extent and quality of the current research literature. Primary research articles were selected if they (a) described the outcomes of a plyometric exercise intervention; (b) included measures of strength, balance, running speed, jumping ability, or agility; (c) included prepubertal children 5-14 years of age; and (d) used a randomized control trial or quasiexperimental design. Seven articles met the inclusion criteria for the final review. The 7 studies were judged to be of low quality (values of 4-6). Plyometric training had a large effect on improving the ability to run and jump. Preliminary evidence suggests plyometric training also had a large effect on increasing kicking distance, balance, and agility. The current evidence suggests that a twice a week program for 8-10 weeks beginning at 50-60 jumps a session and increasing exercise load weekly results in the largest changes in running and jumping performance. An alternative program for children who do not have the capability or tolerance for a twice a week program would be a low-intensity program for a longer duration. The research suggests that plyometric training is safe for children when parents provide consent, children agree to participate, and safety guidelines are built into the intervention.

1Movement Analysis Laboratory, Shriners Hospitals for Children Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, Utah; 2Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Utah State University, Logan, Utah; and 3Department of Pediatrics, Division of Medical Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Address correspondence to Barbara A. Johnson, bajohnson@shrinenet.org.

Copyright © 2011 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.