Combined Sprint Interval, Plyometric, and Strength Training in Adolescent Soccer Players: Effects on Measures of Speed, Strength, Power, Change of Direction, and Anaerobic Capacity

J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Apr;34(4):957-968. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003476.

Abstract

Ferley, DD, Scholten, S, and Vukovich, MD. Combined sprint interval, plyometric, and strength training in adolescent soccer players: effects on measures of speed, strength, power, change of direction, and anaerobic capacity. J Strength Cond Res 34(4): 957-968, 2020-During winter, many soccer players train indoors to improve the aerobic and anaerobic demands of their sport. Sprint interval training (SIT) performed on a treadmill using level and graded conditions represents a viable alternative to traditional endurance conditioning. To date, little research exists contrasting the effects of these conditions. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation included examining the effects of 2 approaches combining SIT, plyometrics, and strength training on performance measures in soccer players aged 13-18 years over 8 weeks. Forty-six subjects were divided into 3 groups. Group 1 performed SIT using predominantly inclined treadmill conditions combined with resistance and plyometric training (INC, n = 17). Group 2 performed SIT using level treadmill grades and completed the same resistance and plyometric training (LEV, n = 14). Group 3 was a control group representing various sports who continued their normal training (CON, n = 15). Pre- and posttests assessed speed, strength, change of direction, and anaerobic capacity, including sprint speed (9.1 and 18.3 m sprint), unilateral triple hop for distance (3HOP_L and 3HOP_R), pro agility change of direction (PA); treadmill running to exhaustion on a 20% grade (CFMod), and hip flexor maximum strength (HF_1RM). After training, INC and LEV improved more in all measures compared with CON. Furthermore, INC improved significantly more compared with LEV in 9.1- and 18.3-m sprint, 3HOP_L and 3HOP_R, PA, CFMod, and HF_1RM (p < 0.05). We conclude that strength and plyometric training combined with incline-based SIT is more effective than a similar training approach using level-grade SIT.