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Olympic Weightlifting and Plyometric Training With Children Provides Similar or Greater Performance Improvements Than Traditional Resistance Training

Chaouachi, Anis1; Hammami, Raouf1; Kaabi, Sofiene1; Chamari, Karim2; Drinkwater, Eric J.3,4; Behm, David G.4

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: June 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 6 - p 1483–1496
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000305
Original Research

Abstract: Chaouachi, A, Hammami, R, Kaabi, S, Chamari, K, Drinkwater, EJ, and Behm, DG. Olympic weightlifting and plyometric training with children provides similar or greater performance improvements than traditional resistance training. J Strength Cond Res 28(6): 1483–1496, 2014—A number of organizations recommend that advanced resistance training (RT) techniques can be implemented with children. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Olympic-style weightlifting (OWL), plyometrics, and traditional RT programs with children. Sixty-three children (10–12 years) were randomly allocated to a 12-week control OWL, plyometric, or traditional RT program. Pre- and post-training tests included body mass index (BMI), sum of skinfolds, countermovement jump (CMJ), horizontal jump, balance, 5- and 20-m sprint times, isokinetic force and power at 60 and 300°·s−1. Magnitude-based inferences were used to analyze the likelihood of an effect having a standardized (Cohen's) effect size exceeding 0.20. All interventions were generally superior to the control group. Olympic weightlifting was >80% likely to provide substantially better improvements than plyometric training for CMJ, horizontal jump, and 5- and 20-m sprint times, whereas >75% likely to substantially exceed traditional RT for balance and isokinetic power at 300°·s−1. Plyometric training was >78% likely to elicit substantially better training adaptations than traditional RT for balance, isokinetic force at 60 and 300°·s−1, isokinetic power at 300°·s−1, and 5- and 20-m sprints. Traditional RT only exceeded plyometric training for BMI and isokinetic power at 60°·s−1. Hence, OWL and plyometrics can provide similar or greater performance adaptations for children. It is recommended that any of the 3 training modalities can be implemented under professional supervision with proper training progressions to enhance training adaptations in children.

1Tunisian Research Laboratory “Sports Performance Optimization,” National Center of Medicine and Science in Sports (CNMSS), Tunis, Tunisia;

2Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Research and Education Centre, Doha, Qatar;

3School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia; and

4School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada

Address correspondence to David G. Behm, dbehm@mun.ca.

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.