Adaptations on Jump Capacity in Brazilian Volleyball Players Prior to the Under-19 World Championship : The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research

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Adaptations on Jump Capacity in Brazilian Volleyball Players Prior to the Under-19 World Championship

Stanganelli, Luiz Cláudio Reeberg; Dourado, Antonio Carlos; Oncken, Percy; Mançan, Sérgio; da Costa, Silvano César

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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 22(3):p 741-749, May 2008. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31816a5c4c
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The under-19 Brazilian volleyball national team has achieved great performances at international competitions. Because the vertical jump capacity is critical for success in volleyball, the purpose of this study was to identify the training-induced adaptations on jump capacity assessed by general and specific tests during 3 different moments (i.e., T1, T2, and T3) of a macrocycle of preparation for the world championship. The sample was composed of 11 athletes from the Brazilian national team-World Champion (age, 18.0 ± 0.5 years; height: 198.7 ± 5.4 cm; and body mass, 87.3 ± 5.9 kg). They were evaluated for jumping capacity by the following tests: squat jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), and jump anaerobic resistance (15 seconds) (JAR) and standing reach, height, and vertical jump tests for attack and block. Descriptive statistics were computed, and a repeated-measures analysis of variance was used. The Tukey-Kramer post hoc test was used when appropriate. Significance was set at P ≤ 0.05. The results showed that the training-induced adaptations on the SJ (3.9%) and CMJ (2.3%) were not statistically significant. The JAR showed statistical significance between T2 and T3 (9.6%), while the attack height and block height presented significant differences between T1 and T2 (2.5% and 3.3%, respectively) and T1 and T3 (3.0% and 3.5%, respectively). The volume of training was quantified between weeks 1 and 9 (10,750 minutes, 1,194 ± 322 min·wk−1) and between weeks 10 and 18 (8,722 minutes, 969 ± 329 min·wk−1). In conclusion, this study showed that there were progressive and significant training-induced adaptations, mainly on the tests that simulated the specific skills, such as spike and block, with the best results being reached after the first 9 weeks of training. This probably reflected not only the individual's capacity to adapt, but also the characteristics of the training loads prescribed during the entire macrocycle.


Volleyball is considered one of the most explosive and fast-paced sports. Elite male players have been reported to perform 250 to 300 high-power activities during a 5-game match, and the jumps constitute most of the power events (14). Of these activities, the attack and block situations represent 45% of the total actions of the game and are also responsible for 80% of the points obtained within international matches (34). The performance of these volleyball skills as well as the service depends on the height at which these motor actions occur in relation to the net and is determined by the capacity of the athlete to raise vertically his center of gravity. Thus, when planning the training practices, one of the main objectives is the development of the jump capacity.

The specificity of the responses for each type of neuromuscular recruitment has led to investigations of different characteristics of jumping. Such studies have shown that the elastic properties of the muscle are important factors to determine the vertical jump, and the improvement of this capacity for volleyball athletes has been consistently found in the literature (8,9,15,25). This variable requires a complex motor coordination between upper and lower body segments, and the use of reliable and valid testing procedures is beneficial for monitoring the effects of training (20).

The investigation of the relationship between the physical conditioning markers monitored over the course of a macrocycle could be of great importance for optimal construction of the physical and sport-specific conditioning to improve performance (12). In this situation, to monitor periodically the development of the jump capacity according to distinct moments of the training periodization is fundamental for controlling the training-induced adaptations (4,6,17,28,31).

This process could be achieved by assessing the athletes by using the general tests such as squat jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), jump anaerobic resistance test (15 seconds) (JAR) (5), and specific tests such as the attack jump (ATJ) and block jump (BLJ) (30). The information obtained by these tests permits to identify whether the objectives of the training program were reached in a specific macrocycle. These possible changes are entirely related to the training programs used over the macrocycle in according to the periodization of the training programs that are incorporated to elite team preparation. Based on this assumption, the purpose of this study was to identify the training-induced adaptations on jump capacity assessed by general and specific tests during 3 different moments of a macrocycle of preparation for the world championship of the under-19 male Brazilian volleyball team.


Experimental Approach to the Problem

This study used a repeated-measures design to track the adaptations on jump capacity of a group of young elite volleyball players over a macrocycle of preparation aiming to the participation in the world championship. This type of design was similar to that used previously to evaluate the physical fitness and the characteristics of the trained-induced adaptations of volleyball (11,34), basketball (1), handball (12), and rugby (10). Training loads have an important effect on an athlete's performance and can be a determinant factor in achieving success. Therefore, the ultimate goal of training modeling is to optimize performance. In addition, the training volume was determined as the amount of time of each session according to records made by the coaches and split into technical and tactical (TT), weight training (WT), physical conditioning (CO), and matches (MA). To verify the intensity, heart rate (b·min−1) was monitored (Polar Vantage NV; Polar Electro Oy, Kempele, Finland) through all the training sessions of weeks 1, 9, and 18. On each training session, 6 athletes were chosen by random and used the heart rate monitor. The athlete's participation in the conditioning sessions was split into 5 different types of training, including weight training, endurance training, jump training, anaerobic capacity training (i.e., sprints, shuttles, shuffles, agility, and coordination tasks), and stretching training.

It was hypothesized that the combination of the training loads applied over a consecutive 18-week period (i.e., physical conditioning, technical and tactical practices, and volleyball matches) would optimize and improve the jump capacity of elite volleyball players progressively during the macrocycle, with the best performance being achieved immediately before the world championship. Also, another hypothesis to be tested was whether specific tests would show a better training-induced adaptation when compared to the general tests. This study, therefore, investigated the training-induced adaptations on jump capacity that took place over a macrocycle in one of the world's leading under-19 male volleyball teams. The subjects were evaluated at the first (T1), ninth (T2), and 18th (T3) weeks of training out of a macrocycle of 21 weeks of training.


Eleven players of the under-19 male Brazilian volleyball team were submitted to periodic measurements, including standard anthropometry (age, 18.0 ± 0.5 years) and 5 types of vertical jump tests. This study was developed according to the authorization of the Brazilian volleyball confederation and the staff of the national team. This study was in accordance with the State University of Londrina guidelines for the use of human subjects. After being instructed verbally about the measurement procedures and the potential risks of the study, all subjects provided their written informed consent prior to data collection.

Testing Procedures

The data were collected as follows: T1, first week; T2, ninth week; and T3, 18th week of training. All the subjects were assessed on the same day, and the tests were performed in the same order (i.e., anthropometry, SJ, CMJ, JAR, ATL, and BLJ) in the 3 distinct moments. All the subjects were familiarized with the experimental equipment and the testing protocols because they had been tested in previous macrocycles. Measurements were taken always on Monday morning because the athletes had rested during the weekend (i.e., Saturday afternoon and Sunday).

Anthropometric and Skinfold Measures

One of the most important prerequisites of physical fitness and performance is the optimal body dimension, considering that the adaptation to training is manifested by changes in body mass, body build, and body composition. Height was measured in centimeters (±0.1 cm) with a wall stadiometer in conjunction with a right-angled head board with the subjects standing in bare feet. Body mass was determined with a calibrated electronic scale (Filizola, São Paulo, Brazil) to the nearest 0.05 kg. The skinfold thickness was measured 3 times to the nearest 0.1 mm with a Harpender caliper (Cescorf, Porto Alegre, Brazil) at the biceps, triceps, subscapular, suprailiac, abdominal, thigh, and calf sites, as described by Harrison et al (13). Percentage of body fat (%BF) was determined according to the method by Katch and McArdle (7). The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for test-retest reliability, typical error of measurement (TEM), and coefficient of variation (CV) were calculated for the following: height (ICC) of 0.99 range (95% interval, 0.9947-0.9994), TEM (0.28%), and CV (2.78%); body mass (ICC) of 0.99 range (95% interval, 0.97-0.99), TEM (2.32%), and CV (6.9%); body mass index (ICC) of 0.99 range (95% interval, 0.97-0.99), TEM (2.65%), and CV (8.8%); sum of 7 skinfolds (ICC) of 0.96 range (95% interval, 0.89-0.98), TEM (2.5%), and CV (16.6%); %BF (ICC) of 0.97 range (95% interval, 0.92-0.99), TEM (4.45%), and CV (11.29%); and free fatty mass (ICC) of 0.99 range (95% interval, 0.97-0.99), TEM (5.8%), and CV (6.5%).

Jump Capacity

In most sports, the measurements of jump capacity are used as an index of performance status. The SJ and CMJ tests, measured by means of a contact mat connected to a digital timer, are considered reliable for the estimation of the explosive characteristics of the lower limbs (20). The evaluation of the SJ, CMJ, and JAR tests were according to the Bosco protocol (5). After a 15-minute standardized warm-up, the data were collected on a contact mat, Ergojump Jump Pro 2.0-Brazil, connected to a laptop computer. An electronic timer was connected to the mat to measure the flight time of the different jumps. The time onset was triggered by the unloading of the subject's feet from the mat and was stopped at the moment of landing. Specific software calculated the jump height according to the subject's flight time on each test (22,33). The subjects performed the SJ first from a semisquatting position maintained for 4 seconds and without countermovement (90° angle of the knee joint) and the CMJ second with free countermovement position while squatting down and then extending the knees in 1 continuous movement. In both tests, the subjects kept their trunk in an upright posture and their hands on their hips. Each subject had 3 trials interspersed with 10 seconds of rest between each jump and a 1-minute interval between the 2 types of test (19). Only the value of the best jump from each subject was used in the data analysis. The SJ showed an ICC of 0.59 range (95% interval, −0.12 to 0.88), and the TEM was 1.14%. The CMJ showed an ICC of 0.54 range (95% interval, −0.27 to 0.86), and the TEM was 2.92%. The coefficient of variation for the SJ and CMJ tests was 4.9% and 5.9%, respectively. In the JAR test, the subjects had just 1 attempt on a continuous countermovement rebound jump for 15 seconds without any recovery between jumps. For this test, the average height of the total number of jumps was considered in the data analysis. The subjects were instructed to jump as high as possible with their hands on their hips and to keep contact on the mat as fast as possible. The JAR showed an ICC of 0.60 range (95% interval, −0.08 to 0.88), a TEM of 8.32%, and a CV of 8.5%.

Attack and block performances for volleyball players depend heavily on the height at which these skills are performed above the net and are determined by not only the capacity of the athlete to raise vertically his center of gravity, but also his stature and standing reach. In this particular case, specific tests would provide a further understanding of the training-induced adaptation. For the ATJ, the standing reach was determined as the maximal distance between the fingertip of the attack hand and the ground, while standing 90° to a wall. The ATJ was measured from a running lead (2- or 3-step approach) by using a basketball backboard marked with lines 1 cm apart with a 1-minute rest interval between them (14,23). The ATJ showed an ICC of 0.98 range (95% interval, 0.95-0.99), a TEM of 2.81%, and a CV of 3.4%. For the BLJ, the standing reach was determined as the maximal distance between fingertips of the block hands and the ground, while facing the wall. The BLJ jumps started from a standing position with the hands at shoulder level and arms raised from the start position without extra swing. All tests used the same observer who was situated on a volleyball referee stand placed 2 m from the backboard. Both jumps were recorded as the best of the 3 attempts (21,30). The BLJ showed an ICC of 0.95 range (95% interval, 0.87-0.98), a TEM of 0.29%, and a CV of 2.6%.

Statistical Analyses

For each moment of the tests, standard statistical parameters (i.e., mean and SD) were calculated. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to incorporate a matrix of unstructured covariance considering the correlation among the repeated observations for the same subject. A Tukey-Kramer post hoc test was used when appropriate. Significance was set at p ≤ 0.05.


Training Loads

The investigated macrocycle had a total of 203 training sessions, 41 friendly matches (34 wins and 7 losses), and 7 official matches at the world championship (7 wins-World Champion) and lasted 21 weeks. The data were collected during the first 18 weeks of training. Training sessions were daily (twice a day) and normally on Wednesday afternoons; Saturday afternoons and Sundays were taken as resting days.

The changes that occurred in the volume of training during the experimental period are presented in Table 1. From T1 to T2 (i.e., weeks 1-9), the athletes participated in a total of 10,750 minutes (1,194 ± 322 min·wk−1) distributed as follows: TT (65.16%, 73 moments, and 8.1 sessions per week), WT (15.02%, 22 moments, and 2.4 sessions per week), CO (14.51%, 30 moments, and 3.3 sessions per week), and MA (5.30%, 6 matches, and 0.7 matches per week). From T2 to T3 (i.e., weeks 10-18), the athletes participated in a total of 8,722 minutes (969 ± 329 min·wk−1) distributed as follows: TT (36.94%, 40 moments, and 4.4 sessions per week), WT (21.90%, 25 moments, and 2.8 sessions per week), CO (8.3%, 21 moments, and 2.3 sessions per week), and MA (32.85%, 31 matches, and 3.4 matches per week). When comparing the means of the 2 distinct periods (i.e., weeks 1-9 and weeks 10-18), no significant changes were verified at the total time of training (p = 0.4467). In relation to each type of training, TT and CO had their time significantly reduced (p = 0.0304 and p = 0.0026, respectively). Weight training time increased, but the mean changes were not statistically significant (p = 0.3975). On the other hand, time spent on friendly matches increased significantly (p = 0.0086) in the period between the 10th and 18th weeks.

Table 1:
Total and partial time spent at different types of training and match loads for the under-19 volleyball players from weeks 1 to 9 and from weeks 10 to 18.

When taking into account the TT loads, the activities were classified according to the specificities of the volleyball training. From T1 to T2 (i.e., weeks 1-9) and from T2 to T3 (i.e., weeks 10-18), the athletes participated, respectively, in attack (8.83% and 3.51%), block (18.18% and 4.15%), defense (22.67% and 5.74%), setting (1.28% and 0.0%), skills (6.87% and 2.81%), serve/receive (19.49% and 30.62%), attack/defense (1.76% and 8.77%), receive/attack (0.48% and 1.59%), block/defense (0.64% and 1.91%), simulated match (13.73% and 8.93%), and transition drills (5.75% and 32.06%).

The conditioning sessions included the prescription of training loads to improve power, strength, anaerobic capacity (i.e., sprints, shuttles, shuffles, agility, and speed), aerobic endurance, and stretching (i.e., training and injury prevention). The results (Table 2) demonstrated that time spent on jump capacity and stretching training was significantly reduced from week 10 to 18 (p = 0.0488 and p = 0.0207, respectively). The mean heart rate monitored for the CO sessions was 148 ± 17.4 b·min−1 (range, 68-195 b·min−1). For the TT training sessions, the mean heart rate was 135 ± 20.1 b·min−1 (range, 73-198 b·min−1).

Table 2:
Total time spent and percentages for two distinct periods of nine weeks of training (weeks 1-9) and (weeks 10-18) according to the different capacities developed in the conditioning sessions for the under-19 volleyball players.

The practices dedicated to WT were composed of basic exercises, such as leg press, leg extension, leg curl, calf raise, half squat, bench press, triceps extension, biceps curl, lat pull, upright roll, and sit-ups. The WT sessions were divided into 3 phases: upper body (phase 1, 2 × 15 repetitions; phase 2, 2 × 12 repetitions; and phase 3, 2 × 10 repetitions) and lower body (phase 1, 3 × 15 repetitions; phase 2, 3 × 12 repetitions; and phase 3, 3 × 10 repetitions). During this period, there was no 1 repetition maximum test. The loads for the weight training were adjusted between 4 and 6 weeks, according to the program prepared by the coaches considering the achievement of the goals established for each athlete throughout the macrocycle. The average intensity for weight training sessions monitored by heart rate was 109 ± 8.0 b·min−1 (range, 53-169 b·min−1).

There were small changes in height, body mass, body mass index, %BF, free fatty mass, and sum of 7 skinfolds during the experimental period of 18 weeks, but none of them were statistically significant (Table 3).

Table 3:
Anthropometric characteristics for the under-19 volleyball players at the beginning of the preparatory period (T1), after 9 weeks of training (T2), and after 18 weeks of training (T3).

The results of the 5 tests are presented in Table 4. There were no significant gains in the performance of SJ (3.9%) or CMJ (2.3%) during the 3 moments the subjects were assessed. The JAR test demonstrated positive and significant adaptation, but only between T2 and T3 (9.6%). The results also showed significant improvement in the ATJ and BLJ, mainly between T1 and T2 (ATJ, 2.5%; BLJ, 3.3%) and T1 and T3 (ATJ, 3.0%; BLJ, 3.5%). There were no statistical differences between T2 and T3 for both specific jump tests, showing that the most important training-induced adaptations occurred between the first and ninth weeks.

Table 4:
Values for the training-induced adaptations on jump capacity of the under-19 volleyball players at the beginning of the preparatory period (T1), after 9 weeks of training (T2), and after 18 weeks of training (T3).

Figure 1 shows the profile plots of the measured variables for each subject and identifies the individual pattern of training-induced adaptation. It was possible to verify that the performance in some tests was not homogeneous, and some subjects presented a decrease of performance among the tests during the macrocycle, mainly in the SJ, CMJ, and JAR tests.

Figure 1:
Profile plots of the measured variables during the 3 moments of testing.


This study investigated the training-induced adaptations on jump capacity of the under-19 male Brazilian national volleyball team. It was hypothesized that the combination of the training loads applied over a consecutive 18-week period would optimize and progressively improve the jump capacity of elite volleyball players throughout the macrocycle. Also, specific tests would show a better training induced-adaptation than general tests. The primary findings demonstrated that the training loads applied did not induce significant adaptations on the anthropometric and body composition variables (i.e., height, body mass, body mass index, sum of 7 skinfolds, %BF, and free fatty mass). Although these variables are likely to be changed by the training process and just small changes were observed, it is suggested that the subjects have begun the macrocycle in such a condition that the combination of the applied loads could not induce significant adaptations over an 18-week period considering that the characteristics of the volleyball training (i.e., volume and intensity) were not sufficient to stimulate the mechanisms associated with modification in the body composition in this group of elite athletes. Also, the values of these anthropometric and body composition variables presented in this study were similar to others in the literature for elite volleyball players at this age (7).

Training-induced adaptations reflect the combination of the loads applied, such as the amount and quality of work achieved in TT, WT, CO, and MA, always in accordance with each individual's needs. In relation to the training volume, this study demonstrated that it decreased from weeks 1 to 9 to weeks 10 to 18 for all types of training, except the time spent on WT and MA. The first 9 weeks were mostly devoted to TT training aiming to the development of the specific skills of volleyball, while WT and CO completed the loads applied and just a short time was spent on MA. Regardless of the specifics of volleyball, the main objective of this period was to improve the athlete's general working capacity (i.e., specific skills and conditioning) in order to prepare him for the future demands of training in the following weeks (4). Thus, when analyzing the total volume of training for the whole experimental period, it was verified that more time was spent on TT training. This is relevant because at this age group, the development of the specific skills and tactics of the game must prevail instead of keeping the focus only on the physical fitness parameters.

During the period between the 10th and 18th weeks of training, the main objective was to provide specific experience to the young group of athletes playing as many matches as possible (31 matches), most of them at the international level trying to mimic the level of competition that would be faced in the world championship. It is important to mention that time spent on MA increased significantly to 32.8% of the total amount of the training loads. Considering that all types of CO were also reduced in this period, it is suggested that the WT and the increase of MA time was beneficial for the maintenance and improvement of muscle power output, mainly in the muscle groups involved in the absolute jumping power (12). Thus, the calculation of the volume based on the amount of time spent on each type of training is a model of monitoring recommended in the literature (10,12). However, in the current study, it provided results that are difficult to compare to those of other published studies because none of them have reported this type of situation for under-19 volleyball players. In general, experimental studies recreating the training loads and time frames relevant for international class team-sport athletes are absent from the literature. Despite the changes in the volume, the number of weekly training sessions was considered sufficient for elicit training adaptations for elite athletes (4).

Related to the general tests for evaluating the jump capacity, SJ and CMJ had positive training-induced adaptations, but the mean differences were not significant and these results were according to similar studies (10-12). Bobbert and Van Soest (3) suggested that the improvement of the performance of jump capacity measured by the SJ and CMJ tests would occur after periods of training in which the subjects had the opportunity to learn and adjust their coordination patterns to the new force-generation properties of the muscles. Consequently, training programs in which the stimulation of the muscle properties is not specific may produce unsatisfactory results or even reduce jump height performance. These aspects may have influenced the performance accomplished by the subjects despite the jumping loads applied during the different types of training sessions. Although the CMJ shows some similarities with the BLJ, it seems that the characteristics of the training loads applied for the subjects did not promote sufficient adaptations on the storage regulatory mechanisms of the elastics properties of muscles and tendons involved with the stretch-shortening cycle and specific to the eccentric-concentric type of muscular contraction that characterizes the CMJ test (16). Besides, the performance on this type of test is influenced by the transition from the descendent to the ascendant phases by a continual movement in which the joints are extended as fast as possible (32). The subjects were free to choose their proper angle to bend their knees before reaching a maximal vertical thrust. This process was not controlled during the test. It probably could have affected the performance seen on the test, and consequently, it also may have influenced in a nonsignificant adaptation (29,33). Considering these motor learning effects involved in the performance of jump tests, this may be the reason that some subjects had a large individual variability, with some of them showing a negative curve of adaptation during the macrocycle.

Compared to the literature, the subjects' performances for SJ and CMJ were superior or similar but not inferior to other volleyball players (7,18,23). The subjects' average age and the short period of time they are systematically involved in elite volleyball training are important aspects to consider when analyzing the obtained data. Additionally, it is important to mention that even with the good performance demonstrated, these young subjects still could improve their performance on jumping capacity since their neuromuscular activation involved during the execution of these types of jump continues to develop until adult age (7).

Despite the variability in the values of the JAR test observed throughout the 3 evaluations, the most significant results occurred between T2 and T3. At this moment of the macrocycle, the greatest amount of time was spent on MA and TT training, suggesting that the loads applied promoted training-induced adaptations in the metabolic and neuromuscular systems as the subjects were stimulated during high-intensity and short-term effort, which characterizes volleyball. Thus, the JAR test seems to be an important tool to evaluate athletes from sports whose explosive power is determinant for performance. The absolute mean of the height for the rebound jumps (T3) was superior to 35.3 ± 3.6 cm presented for a group of under-19 Italian athletes and close to 39.3 ± 4.6 cm reported for adult Italian athletes (7). To date, just a few studies have used this test, and the results of the current study have revealed a similar pattern for volleyball athletes in response to this type of test.

The current study demonstrated that at the moment of T3, the performance in the ATJ was lower than the values reported for the best adult athletes of the Italian championship (348.0 ± 20.9 cm (range, 342.0-368.0 cm)) and lower than the attack difference (i.e., height of attack jump minus standing reach) (91.8 ± 8.4 cm (range, 74-110 cm)) for the same group (9). During the 18 weeks of training, the average gain in these 2 variables was approximately 10 cm. The performance of the young subjects of this study was very close to that of the best adult elite volleyball players in the world and superior to other Brazilian (26,27) and Italian athletes (7) in the same age group.

The BLJ test and the respective block difference (i.e., height of block jump minus standing reach) revealed a significant and positive training-induced adaptation with a net increase in 11.6 cm for both variables between the moments of T1 and T3. The means of T3 for the BLJ and BLD were higher than the values found in another group of elite under-19 Brazilian athletes (26,27).

The greatest gains for ATJ and BLJ occurred during the first 9 weeks of training, when 27.11% of the TT was specifically dedicated to attack and block training and CO and WT accounted for 29.53%, which altogether may have influenced the better performance observed between T1 and T2. After this period, there were no significant improvements, maybe due to the reduction of CO and specific training for attack and blocking in spite of the maintenance of the WT volume. From weeks 10 to 18, the main objective of the team was to play as many matches as possible and TT training emphasized at most the combination of technical and tactical aspects of the game by the use of transition drills and the combination of serve and receive. It is suggested that during this period, the subjects had already reached their best performance, and they were close to their maximal potential in these 2 variables considering this specific macrocycle. In this case, it seems that the training loads were sufficient to maintain the acquired adaptations, which must have been kept until the competitive period.

Based on these data, it is suggested that the training-induced adaptations in these 2 types of specific tests occurred due to the characteristics of the loads applied (i.e., WT and CO sessions) as well as the drills (i.e., service, attack, and block) and matches during all the phases of the macrocycle that altogether must have contributed to the improvement of the performance in such a specific type of test, mainly during the first 9 weeks of training. The interaction of the different types of training shows the multidisciplinary nature that influences the performance on the vertical jumps. This could be related to the use of mixed training methods, which seem to be more efficient in the development of the many components that influence the jump capacity (24). The improvement of the capacity for attacking and blocking provides the athletes with better conditions to perform much higher skills above the net, where decisive points are scored, and are determinant for the final result of the volleyball match (2).

The current findings demonstrated that among the 5 tests, the most significant adaptations were seen in ATJ and BLJ. This evolution may have occurred due to either the greater capacity of the subject to produce power and strength at the concentric phase of the specific jumps or the increase of the rate of force development and possible improvement of the stretch-shortening cycle (24). The execution of these rapid actions relies heavily on preprogrammed muscle stimulation pattern, and the optimization of such templates within the central nervous system probably took place in the subjects following maximal strength increases, allowing adjustment of control to neuromuscular properties during explosive efforts and thus improving the vertical jump height (18). Also, the increase of motor unit recruitment, the intermuscular and intramuscular synchronism and the increase of stretch-shortening cycle utilization capacity together with the faster speed of muscle contraction may have contributed to the verified evolution that resulted in the greater jump capacity of the subjects (16). Besides, the better performance probably had the fundamental participation of the mechanisms related to the movement coordination capacity, which is connected to the learning process of the specific gesture of both skills. Under these circumstances, after practicing repeatedly these specific skills, attack and block, there was a reorganization of pattern of movement, and the subjects became familiar with the coordinatives required to perform these 2 skills optimally (15).

According to the results, it seems that the specific tests for ATJ and BLJ must be included in test batteries elaborated to evaluate training-induced adaptations for volleyball athletes since they seemed to be more sensitive to the training loads applied during the macrocycle. Additionally, the investigated sample, even with just a few years of systematic training, demonstrated great capacity to adapt mainly on the specific jump tests.

When comparing the results of this study to the literature, the performance of the subjects in all tests was excellent, although the training-induced adaptations for some subjects were not totally progressive as hypothesized, showing that there was a large variability in response to the training loads applied during the preparation for the world championship, mainly for the SJ and CMJ tests. Thus, elite volleyball athletes must be frequently monitored since their responses can vary largely during systematic training, and in order to optimize performance, the athletes must be frequently assessed and training loads must be adjusted according to the individual needs, even in a team sport such as volleyball. Besides, the influence of quantitative assessments of different training and competition modes on the training-induced adaptation on jump capacity still needs a more appropriate method to analyze this process, aiming to correlate the loads applied with the performance level on each variable measured in a macrocycle.

Practical Applications

The jump capacity is one of the key points for the performance during volleyball matches and can be developed with proper training. In order to verify the training-induced adaptations on the jump capacity, the training programs must include periodic assessment of this variable. In this study, jump capacity was evaluated by general and specific tests. Conclusions about the assessment of jump capacity over 18 weeks are as follows: The SJ and CMJ measured with a contact mat are a very popular tool to evaluate jump capacity. During this experiment, these tests did not demonstrate significant training-induced adaptations despite their recommendation and large use in similar studies. Thus, it is suggested that these tests could be used again in future studies considering the many variables involved in their execution and the characteristics of different samples composed of volleyball players. Hence, for the professionals involved in testing volleyball athletes, it is suggested that they use the attack and block tests since they seem to be more sensitive to the training-induced adaptations and better reflect the specificity of the game. These results, when obtained periodically, would be an important tool to influence the prescription of the training, readjusting the loads individually and, consequently, enhancing and optimizing the performance of the jump capacity of elite volleyball athletes. Training loads must be quantified frequently as the time spent on volumes and intensities in order to better understand the effects of periodized training on the enhancement and not the physical performance of elite volleyball players.


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youth athletes; assessment; training; testing; macrocycle

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