Effects of Contrast Strength vs. Plyometric Training on Lower-Limb Explosive Performance, Ability to Change Direction and Neuromuscular Adaptation in Soccer Players

J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Aug;33(8):2094-2103. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002425.


Hammami, M, Gaamouri, N, Shephard, RJ, and Chelly, MS. Effects of contrast strength vs. plyometric training on lower-limb explosive performance, ability to change direction and neuromuscular adaptation in soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 33(8): 2094-2103, 2019-The aim was to compare the effects of 2 differing 8-week in-season strength training programs (contrast strength training [CST] vs. plyometric training [PT]) on selected performance tests (5 and 40 m sprints, S 4 × 5 m change of direction test, squat jump [SJ] and countermovement jump [CMJ], leg peak power on a cycle-ergometer force-velocity test, 1 repetition maximal half-squat, and electromyographic [EMG] activity of the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and rectus femoris muscles during vertical jump tests). Forty male soccer players (age = 15.8 ± 0.4 years; body mass = 58.8 ± 6.3 kg; body height = 1.74 ± 0.06 m; body fat = 10.5 ± 1.9%) were divided between a contrast strength group (CSG, n = 14), plyometric group (PG, n = 14), and control group (CG, n = 12). Both training programs enhanced sprint performance (p < 0.001 in 5 m; p ≤ 0.05 in 40 m) and change of direction test scores (p < 0.001) relative to controls. The plyometric group and CSG increased SJ height relative to the CG, with a slightly greater response in CSG compared with PG (p ≤ 0.05). Most CMJ scores increased significantly in both CSG and PG relative to the CG, with no intergroup differences in training response. Most force-velocity scores increased significantly in the CSG relative to PG and CG. The EMG parameters also increased in the CSG relative to both PG and CG. In summary, most measures of athletic performance in male soccer players were enhanced after CST and PT. However, the improvement of physical performance was better with 8 weeks of CST than with PT. Thus, coaches should be encouraged to include CST as an element of in-season conditioning.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Plyometric Exercise / methods*
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiology
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Running / physiology
  • Soccer / physiology*