Effects of Plyometric Jump Training on Repeated Sprint Ability in Athletes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Background: There is a growing body of research examining the effects of plyometric jump training (PJT) on repeated sprint ability (RSA) in athletes. However, available studies produced conflicting findings and the literature has not yet been systematically reviewed. Therefore, the effects of PJT on RSA indices remain unclear. Objective: To explore the effects of PJT on RSA in athletes. Methods: Searches for this review were conducted in four databases. We included studies that satisfied the following criteria: (i) examined the effects of a PJT exercise intervention on measures of RSA; (ii) included athletes as study participants, with no restriction for sport practiced, age or sex; and (iii) included a control group. The random-effects model was used for the meta-analyses. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the PEDro checklist. Results: From 6,367 search records initially identified, 13 studies with a total of 16 training groups (n = 198) and 13 control groups (n = 158) were eligible for meta-analysis. There was a significant effect of PJT on RSA best sprint (ES = 0.75; p = 0.002) and RSA mean sprint (ES = 0.36; p = 0.045) performance. We did not find a significant difference between control and PJT for RSA fatigue resistance (ES = 0.16; p = 0.401). The included studies were classified as being of “moderate” or “high” methodological quality. Among the 13 included studies, none reported injury or any other adverse events. Conclusion: PJT improves RSA best and mean performance in athletes, while there were no significant differences between control and PJT for RSA fatigue resistance. Improvements in RSA in response to PJT are likely due to neuro-mechanical factors (e.g., strength, muscle activation and coordination) that affect actual sprint performance rather than the ability to recover between sprinting efforts.

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