Analysis of Freestyle Swimming Sprint Start Performance After Maximal Strength or Vertical Jump Training in Competitive Female and Male Junior Swimmers

J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Feb;34(2):323-331. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003390.


Born, DP, Stöggl, T, Petrov, A, Burkhardt, D, Lüthy, F, and Romann, M. Analysis of freestyle swimming sprint start performance after maximal strength or vertical jump training in competitive female and male junior swimmers. J Strength Cond Res 34(2): 323-331, 2020-To investigate the freestyle swimming sprint start performance before and after 6 weeks of maximal strength compared with vertical jump training. With a between-group repeated-measure design, 21 junior swimmers (12 female and 9 male) competing in national and international championships performed 2 weekly sessions of either maximal strength (heavy-loaded back squat and deadlift exercise) or vertical jump training (unloaded box jumps) for 6 weeks during the precompetition phase of the seasonal main event. Session ratings of perceived exertion were used to compare the load of both training programs. Before and after the training period, sprint start performance was investigated on a starting block equipped with force plates synchronized to a 2-dimensional motion capture system. Total training load did not differ between the 2 groups. Sprint start performance and most kinematic and kinetic parameters remained unaffected. In pooled data of the U17 swimmers, however, 5-m, 15-m, and 25-m split times were improved with maximal strength (p = 0.02, 0.03, and 0.01), but not with vertical jump training (p = 0.12, 0.16, and 0.28). Although there was no global effect, focus on the subgroup of U17 swimmers showed an improved sprint start performance with 2 sessions of maximal strength training integrated into a 16-hour training week. Although outcomes of the conditioning program seemed to be affected by the training history and performance level of the athletes involved, strength and conditioning coaches are encouraged to introduce maximal strength training at a young age.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Physical Exertion
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Swimming / physiology*