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|A systematic review: plyometric training programs for young children [with consumer summary]|
|Johnson BA, Salzberg CL, Stevenson DA|
|Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2011 Sep;25(9):2623-2633|
The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of plyometric training for improving motor performance in young children; to determine if this type of training could be used to improve the strength, running speed, agility, and jumping ability of children with low motor competence; and to examine the extent and quality of the current research literature. Primary research articles were selected if they (a) described the outcomes of a plyometric exercise intervention; (b) included measures of strength, balance, running speed, jumping ability, or agility; (c) included prepubertal children 5 to 14 years of age; and (d) used a randomized control trial or quasiexperimental design. Seven articles met the inclusion criteria for the final review. The 7 studies were judged to be of low quality (values of 4 to 6). Plyometric training had a large effect on improving the ability to run and jump. Preliminary evidence suggests plyometric training also had a large effect on increasing kicking distance, balance, and agility. The current evidence suggests that a twice a week program for 8 to 10 weeks beginning at 50 to 60 jumps a session and increasing exercise load weekly results in the largest changes in running and jumping performance. An alternative program for children who do not have the capability or tolerance for a twice a week program would be a low-intensity program for a longer duration. The research suggests that plyometric training is safe for children when parents provide consent, children agree to participate, and safety guidelines are built into the intervention.