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Zumwalt, M1; Gill, B1; Amburn, J1; Carver, J1; Xu, T1; Hewett, T1; Slauterbeck, J1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S204
E-14C Free Communication/Slide Gender Related Strength and Conditioning

1Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center/Health South Rehabilitation Center, Lubbock, Texas and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio

The effectiveness of strength and conditioning programs in male and some in elite female athletes is well reported. However, few studies have examined the effect of a summer training program in high school female athletes.

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To determine the effectiveness of a short-term strength and conditioning program in enhancing the physical fitness profile of high school female athletes in preparation for a regular sports seasons.

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Twenty three high school female athletes with a mean age of sixteen (range 13–17 years old), of different baseline fitness conditions (trained-ten and untrained-thirteen) were enrolled in a seven- week program. The schedule consisted of a strength and plyometric training regimen three days per week – on Mondays (legs, shoulder/arms plus core conditioning exercises), Tuesdays (chest/back, core and jumps), and Thursdays (legs, core and jumps). Performance improvement was measured pre and post training by 9 indicators used in our study. Muscular strength was tested by: 1 repetition maximum (RM) Parallel Squat and 1RM Bench Press, muscular endurance was measured by: the number of push-ups and sit-ups, muscular power by: the Vertical Jump and Standing Long Jump, speed/agility skills by: the timed T-test and Hexagon drills, and flexibility by: the Sit and Reach test.

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Statistically significant (p < 0.05) improvement was found in terms of magnitudes and percentages of changes for most indicators of strength, power, endurance, flexibility, speed, and agility. In particular, an average of 27% increase (p < 0.01) was found in squats. In our multivariate analyses, however, we found that the effect of the total number of days in training did not significantly (p > 0.10) affect most of the outcome indicators.

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A short-term pre-season strength and conditioning program in high school female athletes was found to be effective in improving performance of these athletes.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine