European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 1–7

The effect of plyometric training on distance running performance

  • Robert W. Spurrs
  • Aron J. Murphy
  • Mark L. Watsford
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-002-0741-y

Cite this article as:
Spurrs, R.W., Murphy, A.J. & Watsford, M.L. Eur J Appl Physiol (2003) 89: 1. doi:10.1007/s00421-002-0741-y

Abstract.

Previous research has reported that plyometric training improves running economy (RE) and ultimately distance-running performance, although the exact mechanism by which this occurs remains unclear. This study examined whether changes in running performance resulting from plyometric training were related to alterations in lower leg musculotendinous stiffness (MTS). Seventeen male runners were pre- and post-tested for lower leg MTS, maximum isometric force, rate of force development, 5-bound distance test (5BT), counter movement jump (CMJ) height , RE, V˙O2max, lactate threshold (Thla), and 3-km time. Subjects were randomly split into an experimental (E) group which completed 6 weeks of plyometric training in conjunction with their normal running training, and a control (C) group which trained as normal. Following the training period, the E group significantly improved 3-km performance (2.7%) and RE at each of the tested velocities, while no changes in V˙O2max or Thla were recorded. CMJ height, 5BT, and MTS also increased significantly. No significant changes were observed in any measures for the C group. The results clearly demonstrated that a 6-week plyometric programme led to improvements in 3-km running performance. It is postulated that the increase in MTS resulted in improved RE. We speculate that the improved RE led to changes in 3-km running performance, as there were no corresponding alterations in V˙O2max or Thla.

Plyometrics Running economy Musculotendinous stiffness Distance running

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Spurrs
    • 1
  • Aron J. Murphy
    • 1
  • Mark L. Watsford
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Movement Department, School of Leisure, Sport and Tourism, University of Technology, Sydney, PO Box 222, Lindfield NSW 2070, Australia