A controlled trial of plyometric training for rhythmic female gymnasts

Fethi Taktak, Ines TakTak, Roy J. Shephard

Abstract


Background. Plyometrics is a form of training that has proven very effective for many categories of athlete, but there has been little evaluation of this technique in gymnasts. We hypothesized that the performance of well-trained competitive rhythmic gymnasts might be further enhanced by adding a short course of plyometric exercises to their normal regimen.

Methods. We tested our hypothesis in a sample of twenty female rhythmic gymnasts aged between 17 and 20 years who had no previous experience of plyometrics.Subjects were divided into equal experimental and control groups. The explosive (squat and countermovement jumps with and without arm movement) and reactive (drop jump and stiffness jumps) forces developed by the lower limbs were analyzed using an Opto-jump device before and after the experimental subjects had completed 12 plyometric training sessions over a period of 4 weeks.

Results. Experimental and control groups were initially well-matched. However, after the 4 weeks of plyometric training, ANOVA showed significant gains in the experimental group on all measures except the Vittori index, with development of a large and statistically significant inter-group advantage to the experimental subjects..

Conclusions. The data imply that the plyometric programme induced significant improvements in the explosive force, power and relaxation of the quadriceps and triceps surae in those subjects who followed the plyometric regimen. The qualitative balance of strength between the quadriceps and triceps surae was also improved, as was the quality of postural support. We would thus recommend that such a programme be incorporated into the preparation of all competitive gymnasts, as it is in many other forms of sport.


Keywords


plyometrics; vertical jump; high-performance sport; rhythmic gymnastics

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ISSN: 19206216