Purpose: To analyze the effects of low-load, high-velocity resistance training (RT) combined with plyometrics on physical performance in pre-peak-height-velocity (PHV) soccer players.
Methods: Thirty young soccer players from the same academy were randomly assigned to either a strength training (STG, n = 15) or a control group (CG, n = 15). Strength training consisted of full squat exercise with low load (45-58% 1RM) and low volume (4-8 repetitions/set) combined with jumps and sprints twice a week over 6 wk of preseason. The effect of the training protocol was assessed using sprint performance over 10 and 20 m, countermovement jump, estimated 1-repetition maximum, and average velocity attained against all loads common to pre- and posttests in full squat.
Results: STG showed significant improvements (P = .004-.001) and moderate to very large standardized effects (ES = 0.71-2.10) in all variables measured, whereas no significant gains were found in CG (ES = -0.29 to 0.06). Moreover, significant test × group interactions (P < .003-.001) and greater between-groups ESs (0.90-1.97) were found for all variables in favor of STG compared with CG.
Conclusion: Only 6 wk of preseason low-volume and low-load RT combined with plyometrics can lead to relevant improvements in strength, jump, and sprint performance. Thus, the combination of field soccer training and lightweight strength training could be used for a greater development of the tasks critical to soccer performance in pre-PHV soccer players.