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Effects of Unilateral Versus Bilateral Plyometric Training on Endurance Running Performance

Open Access. Recently published in the International Journal of Strength and Conditioning "Effects of Unilateral Versus Bilateral Plyometric Training on Endurance Running Performance" by Ian Greenwood, Anthony Kay, Anthony Baross


The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of an 11-week unilateral versus bilateral plyometric training intervention on maximal isometric voluntary (MVC) knee extensor torque, countermovement jump height (CMJ), running economy (RE) and 3-km time trial (TT) performance.

Twenty-seven recreationally trained endurance runners (12 females and 15 males) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: unilateral plyometric training (UPT; n = 9), bilateral plyometric training (BPT; n = 9) and control (CON; n = 9). RE, VO2max, 3-km treadmill TT, isometric MVC (bilateral and unilateral) and CMJ (bilateral and unilateral) were measured prior to and after 11 weeks of training (UPT and BPT; volume equated, 20-40 minutes, 2-3 days/week). Separate two-way repeated measures ANOVAs were used to assess within and between group differences in RE, VO2max, 3-km TT, maximal isometric knee extensor torque and CMJ.

Following 11 weeks of plyometric training there were significant improvements in RE (UPT 5.6%; BPT 4.9%, p < 0.01) and 3-km TT performance (UPT 2.4%; BPT 2.5%, p < 0.01) in addition to CMJ (UPT 12.5%; BPT 14.5%, p < 0.01) and maximal isometric knee extensor torque in the unilateral group (14.0%, p < 0.01). No significant differences in VO2max or anthropometric measures were detected (p > 0.05). No statistically significant differences between training interventions (p > 0.05) were detected in any measure.

These data demonstrate that UPT and BPT result in similar improvements in RE and 3-km TT run performance in recreational distance runners.

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