Plyometric Training Frequency
de Villarreal ES, González-Badillo JJ, Izquierdo M. J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Mar 22(3):715-25.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of 3 different plyometric training frequencies (e.g., 1 day per week, 2 days per week, 4 days per week) associated with 3 different plyometric training volumes on maximal strength, vertical jump performance, and sprinting ability.
Methods: Forty-two students were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups: control (n = 10, 7 sessions of drop jump (DJ) training, 1 day per week, 420 DJs), 14 sessions of DJ training (n = 12, 2 days per week, 840 DJs), and 28 sessions of DJ training (n = 9, 4 days per week, 1680 DJs). The training protocols included DJ from 3 different heights 20, 40, and 60 cm. Maximal strength (1 repetition maximum [1RM] and maximal isometric strength), vertical height in countermovement jumps and DJs, and 20-m sprint time tests were carried out before and after 7 weeks of plyometric training.
Results: No significant differences were observed among the groups in pre-training in any of the variables tested. No significant changes were observed in the control group in any of the variables tested at any point. Short-term plyometric training using moderate training frequency and volume of jumps (2 days per week, 840 jumps) produces similar enhancements in jumping performance, but greater training efficiency ( approximately 12% and 0.014% per jump) compared with high jumping (4 days per week, 1680 jumps) training frequency ( approximately 18% and 0.011% per jump). In addition, similar enhancements in 20-m-sprint time, jumping contact times and maximal strength were observed in both a moderate and low number of training sessions per week compared with high training frequencies, despite the fact that the average number of jumps accomplished in 7S (420 jumps) and 14S (840 jumps) was 25 and 50% of that performed in 28S (1680 jumps).
Conclusion: These observations may have considerable practical relevance for the optimal design of plyometric training programs for athletes, given that a moderate volume is more efficient than a higher plyometric training volume.
Some thoughts: A lot of times, coaches load up their athletes with plyometric work, especially if they are in jumping sports (IE, basketball, volleyball, etc.). The more is better philosophy still holds true today.
This study set out to evaluate whether or not you can get the same benefits from plyometric work with lower amounts of training volume.
The researchers concluded that the moderate amount of plyometric frequency/volume (2 days per week) group had better results that the high frequency/volume plyometric group. This study may be helpful to coaches who are planning their training programs that include plyometric exercises, specifically if the athletes are preparing for sports which require high amounts of jumping already.
One of the times when coaches run into problem is during inseason workouts. Usually, they continue on with the same training program that the athletes’ were performing in the pre-season phase of training. The problem with this is that not only are the athletes’ still doing the same workout, they have just increased their activity by including practices (usually 5 days a week) and games! This leads to a great amount of overload. This is especially true for those who play in a jumping sport and are trying to balance practice and a high frequency/volume plyometric program.
The main thing I tell coaches in these situations is that they need to drop the plyoemtric training volume so that the athletes’ are fresh and ready to perform properly in practice. This study should give those coaches some insight into how their program can be set up to accommodate the training stress of practice and competition.
Additionally, this program was conducted on physical education students (42 subjects in all) and not elite athletes. At the elite level, the athletes may require high a frequency/volume of training in order to get the same neural benefits that plyometrics provide. The determination of training volume/frequency/load should be established by the strength and conditioning specialist and the athlete should adequately be prepared to handle this level of work by completing prior phases of strength and conditioning to help enhance their training base.