The effects of 4-weeks of plyometric training on reactive strength index and leg stiffness in male youths

J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Oct;26(10):2812-9. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318242d2ec.


Although previous pediatric research has reported performance improvements in muscular power, agility, speed, and rate-of-force development after exposure to plyometric training, the effects on reactive strength index (RSI) and leg stiffness remain unclear. One hundred and twenty-nine boys from 3 different age groups (9, 12, and 15 years) participated and were divided into either an experimental (EXP) or control (CON) group within their respective age groups. The EXP groups followed a twice-weekly, 4-week plyometric training program, whereas the CON groups participated in their normal physical education lessons. Preintervention and postintervention measures were collected for RSI (during maximal hopping) and leg stiffness (during submaximal hopping). Both 12- and 15-year-old EXP groups made significant improvements in both absolute and relative leg stiffness (p < 0.05). The 9-year-old EXP group and CON groups for all ages did not make significant changes in leg stiffness. The 12-year-old EXP cohort also made significant improvements in RSI (p < 0.05). Both 15- and 9-year-old EXP cohorts, and CON groups for all ages, failed to show any significant improvements in RSI. The study concludes that improvements in RSI and leg stiffness after a 4-week plyometric training program are age dependent during childhood.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Plyometric Exercise
  • Running / physiology