Another month, another fresh pair of research reviews from the sports performance industry! For those new to the show, here’s how these blog posts break down…I am going to test my ability to read and crush the entire article. In this case a ‘brief’ review on maximum strength and change of direction ability. Once done, I am going to write a summary of the article in to these three parts.
Part 1: What we know.
This is going to explain what the research was looking to study, how they studied it, and why you should care.
Part 2: Any comments or concerns about what the study is showing?
Sometimes the best research study looks so good on paper, but then when you dive in you see that it was done on olympic athletes, or was sponsored by a specific company, or something else that can throw a major red flag on its effectiveness in practical use. Alas, that is what we are for here at Parisi HQ
Part 3: How can I use this?
This part is going to explain practical applications of the research. Typically research is lab based and can be hard to replicate when you’re a Performance Coach on a budget. I’m going to do my best to break down how you can actually apply this research to you coaching
As always, for the grammar nerds, here is the article in MLA citation format…if you click on the citation it will take you to the full article.
Pardos-Mainer, E.; Lozano, D.; Torrontegui-Duarte, M.; Cartón-Llorente, A.; Roso-Moliner, A. Effects of Strength vs. Plyometric Training Programs on Vertical Jumping, Linear Sprint and Change of Direction Speed Performance in Female Soccer Players: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 401. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020401
What we know…
This isn’t a research study, per say, rather it’s a meta-review looking at 12 different studies that researched specific criteria. In this review the qualifying studies needed to have researched how plyometric training and strength training uniquely impacted the development of linear speed and change of direction ability. If you’ve read our other research review that covered how maximum strength training impacted change of direction, you may think you know the answer to this review, but there are a few differences…
The first difference is that this study looked at how plyo and strength training uniquely impacted both linear and change of direction speed. I think it’s a great review for comparing and identifying which qualities of strength can have a direct impact on which elements of speed.
The second key difference is that this study was done with soccer players – in our previous research review we looked at basketball players. Soccer players don’t really stress their vertical jump much in sport, so I think the research is a little more ‘raw’ in how it can help the vertical jump quality. Simply put, the sport specificity is taken out.
Any comments or concerns we should know about?
My biggest gripe with industry research citing strength training as a cause and effect intervention is that we know strength gains continue for longer than the 6,8, or 12 week study. We also know that strength training ‘builds the motor’ and allows for greater potential in plyometric training. In short, strength training and plyometric training go hand in hand.
My other concern with this study is that the tests – vertical jump, linear speed, and change of direction ability- are all plyometric based movements. There is a certain element of specificity with plyometric training and these tests that will inherently allow for better end results.
This is cited as a limitation in the study, but it always makes me wonder how research like this continues to be published.
Ultimately, I will continue my hunt to find a research article that shows the opposite- how sprint training affects maximum strength…
How can I use this?
As a Performance Coach, I think studies like this validate that you cannot be a one-trick pony with your athletes. You need to expose them to various types of training and implements in training and always be working on different performance qualities. This review even states that a valid method of performance training is to train both plyometric and strength outcomes concurrently.
Not mentioned above in my concerns- because it isn’t really a concern- is that this review does not outline the programming prescription used in these reviewed studies. I think that is because we know exercise prescription has so many individualistic qualities, but that is another study I am on the hunt for- outcomes related to various training loads and intensity.
On to the next!