Promoting lower extremity strength in elite volleyball players: effects of two combined training methods.
To compare the impact of short term training with resistance plus plyometric training (RT+P) or electromyostimulation plus plyometric training (EMS+P) on explosive force production in elite volleyball players. Sixteen elite volleyball players of the first German division participated in a training study. The participants were randomly assigned to either the RT+P training group (n=8) or the EMS+P training group (n=8). Both groups participated in a 5-week lower extremity exercise program. Pre and post tests included squat jumps (SJ), countermovement jumps (CMJ), and drop jumps (DJ) on a force plate. The three-step reach height (RH) was assessed using a custom-made vertec apparatus. Fifteen m straight and lateral sprint (S15s and S15l) were assessed using photoelectric cells with interims at 5m and 10 m. RT+P training resulted in significant improvements in SJ (+2.3%) and RH (+0.4%) performance. The EMS+P training group showed significant increases in performance of CMJ (+3.8%), DJ (+6.4%), RH (+1.6%), S15l (-3.8%) and after 5m and 10 m of the S15s (-2.6%; -0.5%). The comparison of training-induced changes between the two intervention groups revealed significant differences for the SJ (p=0.023) in favor of RT+P and for the S15s after 5m (p=0.006) in favor of EMS+P. The results indicate that RT+P training is effective in promoting jump performances and EMS+P training increases jump, speed and agility performances of elite volleyball players. Copyright © 2012 Sports Medicine Australia. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.