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Effect of an Acute Bout of Plyometric Exercise on Neuromuscular Fatigue and Recovery in Recreational Athletes

Drinkwater, Eric J; Lane, Tyson; Cannon, Jack

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 4 - p 1181-1186
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31819b79aa
Original Research

Drinkwater, EJ, Lane, T, and Cannon J. Effect of an acute bout of plyometric exercise on neuromuscular fatigue and recovery in recreational athletes. J Strength Cond Res 23(4): 1181-1186, 2009-Although plyometric training is widely used by sports coaches as a method of improving explosive power in athletes, many prescribe volumes in excess of the National Strength and Conditioning Association recommendations. The purpose of this study was to assess voluntary and evoked muscle characteristics to assess the neuromuscular impact of a high-volume bout of plyometric exercise that was non-exhaustive. Ten athletes who did not have plyometric training experience and were in their competitive season for club-level sport volunteered for the study. After at least 2 days without high-intensity activity, subjects were assessed on maximal twitch torque, time to peak torque, rate of twitch torque development, twitch half-relaxation time, rate of twitch relaxation, and voluntary activation by the interpolated twitch technique before, immediately after, and 2 hours after a high-volume plyometric training program (212 ground contacts). Data were analyzed by repeated-measures analysis of variance and described as mean ± SD and Cohen d. Statistically significant decrements appeared immediately after the training protocol in the total torque generated by maximal voluntary contractions (p < 0.05, d = −0.51) and twitch (p < 0.01, d = −0.92), rate of twitch torque development (p < 0.01, d = −0.77), and rate of relaxation (p < 0.01, d = −0.73). However, we did not observe any differences that remained statistically different after 2 hours. There were no significant differences observed at any time point in time to peak twitch, half-relaxation time, or voluntary activation. We conclude that high-volume plyometric training results primarily in peripheral fatigue that substantially impairs force and rate of force development. We recommend that coaches carefully monitor the volume of plyometric training sessions to avoid neuromuscular impairments that can result in suboptimal training.

School of Human Movement Studies, Faculty of Education, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia

Address correspondence to Eric J. Drinkwater,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association