Short-term plyometric training improves running economy in highly trained middle and long distance runners

Philo U. Saunders, Richard D. Telford, David B. Pyne, Esa M. Peltola, Ross B. Cunningham, Christopher Gore, John A. Hawley

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156 Citations (Scopus)


Fifteen highly trained distance runners VO(2)max 71.1 +/- 6.0 ml.min(-1).kg(-1), mean +/- SD) were randomly assigned to a plyometric training (PLY; n = 7) or control (CON; n = 8) group. In addition to their normal training, the PLY group undertook 3 x 30 minutes PLY sessions per week for 9 weeks. Running economy (RE) was assessed during 3 x 4 minute treadmill runs (14, 16, and 18 km.h(-1)), followed by an incremental test to measure VO(2)max. Muscle power characteristics were assessed on a portable, unidirectional ground reaction force plate. Compared with CON, PLY improved RE at 18 km.h(-1) (4.1%, p = 0.02), but not at 14 or 16 km.h(-1). This was accompanied by trends for increased average power during a 5-jump plyometric test (15%, p = 0.11), a shorter time to reach maximal dynamic strength during a strength quality assessment test (14%, p = 0.09), and a lower VO(2)-speed slope (14%, p = 0.12) after 9 weeks of PLY. There were no significant differences in cardiorespiratory measures or VO(2)max as a result of PLY. In a group of highly-trained distance runners, 9 weeks of PLY improved RE, with likely mechanisms residing in the muscle, or alternatively by improving running mechanics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-954
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


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