Int J Sports Med 2014; 35(02): 101-119
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1343401
Training & Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Effect of Plyometric Training on Neural and Mechanical Properties of the Knee Extensor Muscles

M. Behrens
1  Sport Science, University of Rostock, Germany
,
A. Mau-Moeller
1  Sport Science, University of Rostock, Germany
,
S. Bruhn
1  Sport Science, University of Rostock, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History



accepted after revision 01 March 2013

Publication Date:
30 July 2013 (eFirst)

Abstract

This study investigated neuromuscular adaptations of the knee extensors after 8 weeks of plyometric training. 23 subjects were randomly assigned to an intervention group and a control group. We measured isometric maximum voluntary torque (iMVT), rate of torque development (RTD) and impulse (IMP) over different time intervals. The neural drive to muscles was estimated with the interpolated twitch technique and normalized root mean square of the EMG signal. Contractile properties, H reflexes as well as jump height in squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ) were evaluated. Neuromuscular testing was performed at 2 knee angles, i. e., 80° and 45° (0°=full extension). The iMVT at 80° knee flexion was 23.1 N · m (95% CI: 0.1–46.1 N · m, P=0.049) higher at post-test for the intervention group compared with controls. The same was true for RTD and IMP in the time interval 0–50 ms [308.7 N · m · s−1 (95% CI: 28.8–588.6 N · m · s−1, P=0.033) and 0.32 N · m · s (95% CI: 0.05–0.60 N · m · s, P=0.026), respectively]. These changes were accompanied by enhanced neural drive to the quadriceps muscle. Jump height in SJ and CMJ was higher at post-test for the intervention group compared with controls. Parameters at 45° knee flexion, contractile properties and evoked potentials did not differ between groups. Although hypertrophic changes were not measured, data suggest that the training regime probably induced mainly neural adaptations that were specifically related to the knee angle. The strength gains at 80° knee flexion likely contributed to the enhanced jump height in SJ and CMJ.