Neuromuscular and biomechanical characteristic changes in high school athletes: a plyometric versus basic resistance program

Author(s): Lephart SM, Abt JP, Ferris CM, Sell TC, Nagai T, et al.


Background:In order to improve neuromuscular and biomechanical characteristic deficits in female athletes, numerous injury prevention programs have been developed and have successfully reduced the number of knee ligament injuries. However, few have investigated the neuromuscular and biomechanical changes following these training programs. It is also largely unknown what type of program is better for improving the landing mechanics of female athletes.

Objectives:To investigate the effects of an 8 week plyometric and basic resistance training program on neuromuscular and biomechanical characteristics in female athletes.

Methods:Twenty seven high school female athletes participated either in a plyometric or a basic resistance training program. Knee and hip strength, landing mechanics, and muscle activity were recorded before and after the intervention programs. In the jump-landing task, subjects jumped as high as they could and landed on both feet. Electromyography (EMG) peak activation time and integrated EMG of thigh and hip muscles were recorded prior to (preactive) and subsequent to (reactive) foot contact.

Results:Both groups improved knee extensor isokinetic strength and increased initial and peak knee and hip flexion, and time to peak knee flexion during the task. The peak preactive EMG of the gluteus medius and integrated EMG for the gluteus medius during the preactive and reactive time periods were significantly greater for both groups.

Conclusions:Basic training alone induced favourable neuromuscular and biomechanical changes in high school female athletes. The plyometric program may further be utilised to improve muscular activation patterns.

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