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Effect of Olympic weightlifting and plyometric training on performance in boys

Summary of an article on effects of Olympic weightlifting and plyometrics on performance when compared to the traditional resistance training in young healthy males (10-12 years old).

Who

63 healthy boys 10-12 years old from youth judo and wrestling development centers (Tunisia) restraining from other training during the study.

Olympic weightlifting group (OWL)
17 boys aged 11 (±1)
Plyometrics group
17 boys aged 11 (±1)
Traditional resistance training (RT) group
17 boys aged 11 (±1)
Control group
13 boys aged 11 (±1)

Design

Randomised controlled trial.

Olympic weightlifting group (OWL)

  • Olympic-style lift exercises (with ballistic concentric contraction)
  • 2 times per week (nonconsecutive)
  • 12 weeks

Plyometrics group

  • structured plyometric training using body weight (with ballistic concentric contraction)
  • 2 times per week (nonconsecutive)
  • 12 weeks

Traditional resistance training (RT) group

  • free weights with slower speed movements (no enforced pacing for the concentric or eccentric portion)
  • 2 times per week (nonconsecutive)
  • 12 weeks

Control group

  • no training
  • 12 weeks

Outcome measures

Isokinetic strength (maximal voluntary isokinetic concentric strength of the dominant leg at 60 and 300 deg/sec): Force60, Force300, Power60, Power300, countermovement jump height, standing horizontal jump, acceleration and maximal running speed (5-m sprint and flying 20-m sprint), static balance (Stork stand test)

Main results

  • OWL group was better than the Plyometric (3.2 cm) and Traditional RT (4.1 cm) groups in the countermovement jump. OWL group was 13.5 cm better than the Plyometric group in the horizontal jump.
  • OWL (5.5 seconds) and Plyometric (9.1 seconds) groups were holding their balance longer than the Traditional RT group.
  • Gains in BMI were higher (0.6 kg/m2) in the Traditional RT group than in Plyometric or OWL groups.
  • Plyometric group was better in Force60 than the Traditional RT group and OWL group (13 and 13.8 kg, respectively), and better (6.7 kg) in Force300 than the Traditional RT.
  • Traditional RT group was 13.2 W better in Power60 than the Plyometric group.
  • OWL (20.7 W difference) and Plyometric (15.8 W difference) groups were better at Power300 than the Traditional RT group.
  • Plyometric group was the worst in 5-m sprint (0.05 seconds slower than Traditional RT and 0.04 slower than OWL group) and 20-m sprint (0.12 seconds slower than Traditional RT and 0.14 slower than OWL group).

Take home message

For a clinician
Olympic-style weightlifting and plyometric training were generally equal to or more effective for enhancing performance than traditional resistance training in 11-year-old boys.
For a parent
Both Olympic-style weightlifting and plyometrics improve performance the same or better than traditional resistance training in young boys.
For an athlete
Both Olympic-style weightlifting and plyometrics improve performance the same or better than traditional resistance training in young boys.

Original article

Chaouachi A, Hammami R, Kaabi S, Chamari K, Drinkwater EJ, Behm DG. Olympic weightlifting and plyometric training with children provides similar or greater performance improvements than traditional resistance training. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2014 Jun 1;28(6):1483-96.

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