You are on page 1of 8

IJSM/4235/17.7.

2015/MPS

Training & Testing

Authors

A. Jurado-Lavanant1, J. R. Alvero-Cruz2, F. Pareja-Blanco3, C. Melero-Romero4, D. Rodrguez-Rosell3,


J. C. Fernandez-Garcia5

Affiliations

Affiliation addresses are listed at the end of the article

Key words
vertical jump

stretch-shortening cycle

exercise
muscle strength

muscle soreness

creatine kinase

reactive jumps

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to compare the


effects of land- vs. aquatic based plyometric
training programs on the drop jump, repeated
jump performance and muscle damage. Sixtyfive male students were randomly assigned to
one of 3 groups: aquatic plyometric training
group (APT), plyometric training group (PT) and
control group (CG). Both experimental groups
trained twice a week for 10 weeks performing
the same number of sets and total jumps. The following variables were measured prior to, halfway through and after the training programs:
creatine kinase (CK) concentration, maximal

Introduction

accepted after revision


December 02, 2014
Bibliography
DOI http://dx.doi.org/
10.1055/s-0034-1398574
Published online: 2015
Int J Sports Med
Georg Thieme
Verlag KG Stuttgart New York
ISSN 0172-4622
Correspondence
Dr. Alexis Jurado-Lavanant
University of Malaga
Laboratory of Human
Movement
Campus De Teatinos. Calle
Albert Einstein, 4
Mlaga
Spain CP: 29010
Tel.: +34/630/224 233
Fax: +34/952/131 303
alexisjuradolavanant@gmail.
com

Plyometric training is a very popular method of


physical conditioning that has been extensively
studied over the last 3 decades. It is often used in
all types of sports by different levels of athletes to
increase muscular strength and explosiveness
[33,35,40]. Plyometrics present a stretch-shortening cycle (SSC), which is divided into two
phases: beginning with an intense eccentric contraction of the muscle and amortization phase,
followed immediately by a rapid concentric contraction [28,
30]. After stretching, the muscle
stores elastic energy, which is used to produce
more force during the concentric contraction
than simply by p
erforming a concentric action
[25,28]. The efficiency of the SSC is dependent on
the immediate transfer from the preactivated
and eccentrically stretched muscle-tendon complex to the concentric push-off phase [38]. Thus,
training should improve the adaptation of muscles from an eccentric to a concentric contraction, enabling them to increase the speed and
force with which they perform. In this regard,
several studies have shown that plyometric train-

height during a drop jump from the height of 30


(DJ30) and 50cm (DJ50), and mean height during
a repeated vertical jump test (RJ). The training
program resulted in a significant increase
(P<0.010.001) in RJ, DJ30, and DJ50 for PT,
whereas neither APT nor CG reached any significant improvement APT showed likely/possibly
improvements on DJ30 and DJ50, respectively.
Greater intra-group Effect Size in CK was found
for PT when compared to APT. In conclusion,
although APT seems to be a safe alternative
method for reducing the stress produced on the
musculoskeletal system by plyometric training,
PT produced greater gains on reactive jumps performance than APT.

ing is effective in eliciting significant positive


changes in dynamic athletic performance, particularly in vertical jump ability (squat jump,
countermovement jump, drop jump and repeated
jump) [22,29,31].
The effects of plyometric training can vary due to
a large number of variables, such as number of
jumps, number of sets, recovery time between
jumps and between sets, type of jump (squat
jump, countermovement jump, drop jump,
repeated jumps), program duration or the surface over which plyometric training is performed.
Furthermore, the majority of plyometric training
sessions take place on land. However, land-based
plyometric programs have also been related to
musculoskeletal injuries and delayed onset muscle soreness because of the high-intensity and
compression forces on the joints and muscles
[20,25,30]. Otherwise, the principle of overload
is universally known, which consists in producing greater stress than those evoked by a previous stimulus during training program [19].
Unfortunately, the optimal volume stimulus for
the development of physical performance has
not yet been solved. Some authors [13,14] sug-

Jurado-Lavanant A et al. The Effects of Aquatic Int J Sports Med

This document was downloaded for personal use only. Unauthorized distribution is strictly prohibited.

The Effects of Aquatic Plyometric Training on


Repeated Jumps, Drop Jumps and Muscle Damage

IJSM/4235/17.7.2015/MPS

Training & Testing

Jurado-Lavanant A et al. The Effects of Aquatic Int J Sports Med

may shed some light on the influence of aquatic-based plyometric training on the gains in different variables of physical performance and provide strength and conditioning coaches
information and guidelines that would enable them to plan and
set-up safer and more effective plyometric training programs.
Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to compare the
effects of land-based plyometric training vs. aquatic plyometric
training on reactive jump performance, such as drop jump and
repeated jump, and muscle damage.

Material and Methods

Experimental approach to the problem

The present study used an experimental design to examine the


effect of aquatic plyometric training on reactive jump performance (repeated vertical jump and drop jump) and muscle damage (blood CK) in a group of physical active young healthy men.
With the purpose of emphasizing proper execution technique in
repeated vertical jump and drop jump, 2 preliminary familiarization sessions were undertaken before the measurements were
applied. Anthropometric assessments and medical examinations were conducted during these sessions. Participants arrived
to the laboratory in the morning in a well-rested condition and
fasted state. After being medically screened, body composition
were determined using TANITA (Tanita TBF-300 GS Pro Body
Composition Analyzer; Tanita Corporation of America, Inc.,
Arlington Heights, IL, USA). Following preliminary familiarization and pre-testing, participants were randomly assigned to
one of 3 groups: aquatic plyometric training (APT, n=20), landbased plyometric training (PT, n=20) and control group (CG,
n=25). Both experimental groups trained twice a week for 10
weeks performing the same number of sets, total repetitions
and recovery time. The only difference in the plyometric training program performed by both groups was that APT completed
aquatic-based plyometric training in a pool, whereas PT performed land-based plyometric training in a compact cement
surface.

Participants

A total of 65 healthy and physically active men, all students


of the University of Malaga volunteered to take part in this
study (age: 21.22.9 years, height: 1.770.06m, body mass:
76.210.7kg, body mass index: 24.12.7kgm2 and percentage of mass fat: 13.05.6%). Prior to the study, they were warned
against the potential risks and benefits, and for this reason they
all signed an informed consent. None of them took any drugs
that could alter their physical or hormonal condition before or
during the training period. The present research met the ethical
standards of this journal [16] and was approved by the Scientific
and Ethical Committee of the University of Malaga.

Testing procedures

Neuromuscular performance and blood samples were assessed


during pre-training (the week before, T1), mid-training (during
week 5, T2) and post-training (after 10 weeks of training, T3),
using a battery of tests performed in a single session. Participants were asked to perform no fatiguing activity for 48h before
the pre-test. The post-measurements occurred approximately
48h after the last training session in order to avoid fatigue. On
the morning testing, the participants arrived after a light breakfast and a 2h fast period. On arrival at the laboratory, the par-

This document was downloaded for personal use only. Unauthorized distribution is strictly prohibited.

gest that an optimal training volume would include only the


amount of training that elicits maximal performance enhancements. Performance could be compromised if this volume
threshold was surpassed [13,
14]. Therefore, coaches and
strength and conditioning professionals should take into account
the aforementioned acute variables to optimize the response to
this type of training and minimize potential injury.
Actually, there is increasing interest in aquatic-based exercise
because this environment provides a non-impact medium that
produces little strain on muscle, bones, and connective tissue
when compared with land activities [11,30,41]. This method
provides an ideal medium for athletes to begin training before
progressing to training on land and may be useful in rehabilitation and injury prevention [11]. This could be accounted for the
properties of water, specifically: i) buoyancy provided by water
due to fluid density compared to air density, which reduces significantly peak impact forces (3354%), impulse (1954%) and
rate of force development (3362%) in water compared to land
[11,41]; ii) water is denser than air and provides resistance to
movement, thereby, this resistance increases the workload of
muscles during the concentric phase, resulting in the potential
for greater strength gains [28]. Although aquatic plyometric
training has been indicated to reduce the symptoms of exerciseinduced muscle damage with respect to land-based plyometric
training, to the best of our knowledge, only 2 studies have compared the effects of aquatic- vs. land-based plyometric training
on muscle damage. Robinson et al. [30] observed a significantly
higher perception of acute muscle soreness and pain sensitivity
(measured with a muscle soreness scale and an algometer,
respectively) after plyometric exercises on land when compared
to aquatic plyometric exercises. On the other hand, blood creatine kinase (CK) is a well-accepted marker of skeletal muscle
tissue disruption, and plyometric exercises have been shown to
elevate this enzyme [8]. However, to our knowledge, only one
study [34] analyzed the response of blood CK after 5 weeks (3
times weekly) aquatic- vs. land-based plyometric training. These
authors [34] found lower levels of CK for aquatic plyometric
training than traditional plyometric training. Despite these findings, further studies analyzing physiological markers related to
muscle stress are required to determine the effect of plyometric
exercises in aquatic environment on muscle damage.
With respect to changes on physical performance, several studies [21,25,28,30,34,36] have compared the effects of performing aquatic vs. land-based plyometric training on different
variables of physical performance. These studies performed
training programs of 68 weeks and they showed similar effects
on performance of different vertical and horizontal jumps, such
as Countermovement Jump, Squat Jump, Standing Broad Jump
and Sargent Test [2,21,25,30,36], Margaria-Kalamen Test [25],
acceleration capacity [30,34], agility test [2,34], maximum leg
strength [34], and ankle and knee isokinetic peak torque [25,30].
Therefore, if the aquatic plyometric training produces similar
enhancements of performance to land-based plyometric training with the advantage of attenuating muscle stress, aquatic
plyometric training might be a good alternative to traditional
plyometric training for the improvement of physical performance. However, the effectiveness of aquatic plyometric training on drop jump ability and repeated jump capacity has not yet
been investigated, even though these variables are related to
sprinting, change of direction and endurance performance [4,6].
Considering the aforementioned studies in connection with
aquatic plyometric training, the findings of the present study

IJSM/4235/17.7.2015/MPS

Training & Testing

Drop jump (30 and 50cm)

The jumping tests were performed using an electronic contact


mat system (Ergo Jump Bosco System, S. Rufina di Cittaducale,
RI, Italy), which was used to measure flight time during the vertical jump (accuracy 0.001s). Maximum height achieved by the
body center of gravity (h) was then estimated as following: i.e.,
h=gt281, where g=9.81ms1, which is the acceleration due
to gravity and t is the time of flight phase. The participants were
given 2 attempts to obtain their maximum jump height in each
attempt, with 30s of rest between them. During the DJ30 test,
the participants started the test on a 30cm static box, whereas
during DJ50, they started on a 50cm static box. Drop jumps were
performed from 2 heights, because previous studies have demonstrated that the drop height influences the neuromuscular
activity and jumping technique, and can thus have a different
adaptive response after strength training [37,38]. Before each
jump, the participants stood on the static box with both hands
on their hips. From this position, they extended one foot and
then let their body fall forward vertically without pushing or
jumping from the static box. They landed on the mat with both
feet and jumped as high as possible. The participants were
instructed to leave the electronic contact mat system with their
knees and ankles fully extended and to land in a similarly
extended position to ensure the validity of the test. Four basic
techniques were stressed: (a) correct posture (i.e., spine erect,
shoulders back) and body alignment (e.g., chest over knees)
throughout the jump; (b) jumping straight up with no excessive
side-to-side or forward-backward movement; (c) soft landing,
including toe-to-toe heel rocking and bent knees; and (d) instant
recoil preparation for the next jump [9]. Subjects were also
instructed to keep this jumping procedure similar throughout
the whole experiment.

Repeated jump (10 repetitions)

This test required the subject to perform 10 maximal continuous


jumps in a row performed at maximal strength with no pause
between jumps. Participants were instructed to jump to maximal height with contact times as fast as possible, keeping legs
straight throughout the jumping sequence. An electronic contact mat system (Ergo Jump Bosco System, S. Rufina di Cittadu-

cale, RI, Italy) was used to estimate the height of each jump.
Participants were asked to remain with their trunk in vertical
position with no excessive forward move, with their knees
extended during the flight phase. The participants held their
hands on their hips while performing the test.

Blood samples

Capillary blood samples for determination of CK concentrations


were obtained from the fingertip at rest. CK activity was determined before exercise (T1), and 48h after session 10 (T2) and
session 20 (T3). According to the manufacturers instructions,
after cleaning and puncturing, a single 28.531.5-KL capillary
sample was taken and placed over the strip (Reflotron creatine
kinase) for an automatic reflectance photometry analysis (Reflotron; Boehringer Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany) within the
first 23min after obtaining the sample. The analyzer was calibrated (Reflotron check) before the analysis of every subjects
capillary sample.

Training program

Both APT and PT groups trained twice a week, on non-consecutive days, for a period of 10 weeks using only vertical jumps. The
number of sets, vertical jumps and inter-set recoveries (3min)
were identical for both groups in each training session. The 2
training programs were identical except for the training environment; the land training sessions were conducted in a gymnasium, over a compact cement surface, and the aquatic training
sessions were performed in a pool with a depth of 2.20m; the
temperature of the pool was kept consistent at 27C. Descriptive
characteristics of the plyometric training programs are presented in
Table 1. The volume was increased from 10 sets of 10
vertical jumps in the first week to 10 sets of 55 jumps in the last
week. Both APT and PT groups were instructed to jump for maximal height in every jump. The sessions took place at the same
time of the day (1h) for each subject and under constant environmental conditions. At least 2 trained researchers supervised
each workout session and recorded the compliance and individual workout data during each session. Each participant of the
APT group was positioned one beside the other along the 25
meter pool. They used the lane next to the edge of the pool so
that they could repose during the rest periods between sets. The
participants were required not to engage in any other type of
strenuous physical activity, exercise training or sports competition during the present study.

Statistical analysis

Values are reported as meanstandard deviation (SD). Statistical


significance was established at the P<0.05 level. Homogeneity of
variance across groups (APT vs. PT vs. CG) was verified using the
Levenes test. One factor ANOVA was conducted to examine
inter-group differences at T1. The data were first analyzed using
a 33 factorial ANOVA with repeated measures with Bonferronis post-hoc comparisons using one between factor (APT vs. PT

Table 1 Training program.


Weeks

10

Session

12

34

56

78

910

1112

1314

1516

1718

1920

sets per session


jumps per set
jumps per session
jumps per week

10
10
100
200

10
15
150
300

10
20
200
400

10
25
250
500

10
30
300
600

10
35
350
700

10
40
400
800

10
45
450
900

10
50
500
1000

10
55
550
1100

TOTAL

6500

Jurado-Lavanant A et al. The Effects of Aquatic Int J Sports Med

This document was downloaded for personal use only. Unauthorized distribution is strictly prohibited.

ticipants rested for 20min and then the blood sampling was
drawn. The same warm-up protocol, which consisted of 5min of
low intensity running, 2 sets of progressively faster 30m running accelerations and 2 sets of 4 countermovement jumps to
accustom the subjects to the jumping procedure was followed in
the pre- and post-tests. Following warm-up, the participants
performed: 1) drop jump 30cm (DJ30), 2) drop jump 50cm
(DJ50) and 3) repeated vertical jump (RJ). During the execution
of these tests, the participants were verbally encouraged to give
their maximal effort. For each type of jump, 2 repetitions separated by 30s rest were performed. The best attempt for height
jump was recorded for further analysis.

vs. CG) and one within factor (T1 vs. T2 vs. T3). In addition to this
null hypothesis testing, the data were assessed for clinical significance using an approach based on the magnitudes of change
[3,18]. Effect sizes (ES) were calculated using Hedges g in order
to estimate the magnitude of the training effect on the selected
neuromuscular variables within each group, as follows: g=(mean
T3

mean T1)/combined SD [7]. The chance that the true


(unknown) values for each velocity condition were beneficial/
better (i.e., greater than the smallest practically important or
worthwhile effect [0.2between-subject SD, based on Cohens
ES principle [7]), unclear or detrimental/worse for performance
was calculated. Quantitative chances of beneficial/better or detrimental/worse effect were assessed qualitatively as follows: <1%,
almost certainly not; 15%, very unlikely; 525%, unlikely;
2575%, possible; 7595%, likely; 9599%, very likely;
and >99%, almost certain. If the chances of having beneficial/
better or detrimental/worse were both >5%, the true difference
was assessed as unclear [3,18]. Linear regressions with Pearsons
coefficients (r) were used to calculate the respective relationships
between performance parameters analyzed. Inferential statistics
based on the interpretation of the magnitude of effects were
calculated using a purpose-built spreadsheet for the analysis of
controlled trials [17]. The rest of statistical analyses were performed using SPSS software version 18.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL).

Results

No significant differences between groups were found at T1 for


any of the variables analyzed. Compliance with the RT program
was 88.1% of all sessions scheduled. Mean values, percent
changes from T1 to T3 and ES for all the variables analyzed are
reported in
Table 2.
Training resulted in a significant increase (P<0.010.001) in
reactive jump performance for PT (RJ, DJ30 and DJ50), whereas
both APT and CG did not reach significant improvements
Table 2). A significant grouptime interaction was noted
(
for RJ in favor of PT in respect to CG at T2 (P<0.05), but this interaction disappears at T3. There was no group time interaction
for DJ30 and DJ50. Greater intra-group ES in all the variables

analyzed were found for PT when compared to APT and CG


Table 2). Practically worthwhile differences between PT, APT
(
and CG groups seemed evident as supported by the magnitude
of the ES and qualitative outcomes, suggesting likely true
Fig. 1). PT training seemed to result in a very likely
changes (
and likely better effect on RJ height performance than APT
(97/3/0%) and CG (84/16/1%), whereas the beneficial effect of
APT compared to CG on RJ was unclear (26/42/32%). For DJ30,
Table 3),
the differences between groups were less clear (
whereas for DJ50, PT produced likely better effects than APT
(82/17/1%) and CG (94/6/0%). However, the practical difference
Fig. 2).
between APT vs. CG was unclear (47/44/9%,
Table 3,
Any significant grouptime interaction was noted for CK. PT
training seemed to produce likely greater CK than CG, and APT
seemed to produce possibly greater CK than CG, whereas the differences between APT and PT were unclear, although a greater intra Table 2).
group ES was found for PT when compared to APT (
When data from the 3 groups were pooled, significant relationships (P<0.001) were observed between RJ10 and DJ30 (r=0.66)
and, RJ10 and DJ50 (r=0.66). In addition, DJ30 were significantly
correlated to DJ50 (r=0.77, P<0.001).

Discussion

To our knowledge, this is the first study to analyze the effects of


a 10-week aquatic- vs. land-based plyometric training program
on reactive jump performance and muscle damage. The findings
of the present study suggest that land-based plyometric training
produces greater gains on reactive jump performance than
aquatic-based plyometric training, although the muscle damage
is higher in traditional plyometric training. Therefore, our results
suggest that although plyometric training in aquatic environment is safer than land-based plyometric training, land-based
plyometric training should be used in order to improve performance in reactive jumps, such as DJ and RJ.
Previous studies [21,25,28,30,34,36] have shown that aquatic
plyometric training produces enhancements of performance
similar to land-based plyometric training with the advantage of
attenuating muscle stress. However, no study has previously

Table 2 Changes in reactive jump performance variables from pre- to post-training for each group.
Changes observed for TEST 3 vs. TEST 1
TEST 1
RJ10-APT (cm)
RJ10-PT (cm)
RJ10-CG (cm)
DJ30-APT (cm)
DJ30-PT (cm)
DJ30-CG (cm)
DJ50-APT (cm)
DJ50-PT (cm)
DJ50-CG (cm)
CK-APT (g/L)
CK-PT (g/L)
CK-CG (g/L)

26.43.6
25.14.8
24.63.7
33.55.2
31.54.5
32.95.4
33.95.3
30.25.3
31.95.6
184.1104.8
121.966.8
176.4138.8

TEST 2
27.64.2
29.55.4***$
25.83.8
35.15.6
34.77.5**
33.15.7
35.66.8
34.66.7***
32.74.6
234.6182.0
187.0144.3
174.3176.7

TEST 3
27.14.6
27.73.7*
25.24.7
35.14.7
33.85.1**
33.75.2
35.37.2
34.25.6**
32.15.3
189.5120.4
147.895.9
142.968.8

(%)
2.3
11.7
1.3
5.1
7.4
2.8
3.6
13.4
1.6
3.2
15.0
11.9

Standarized (Cohen)

Percent changes of b
etter/

differences (90% CI)

trivial/worse effect

0.20 (0.290.68)
0.53 (0.250.81)
0.16 (0.230.56)
0.30 (0.120.48)
0.51 (0.24 to 0.78)
0.16 (0.110.43)
0.27 (0.080.61)
0.71 (0.430.99)
0.07 (0.270.41)
0.05 (0.320.42)
0.37 (0.180.92)
0.23 (0.520.05)

50/42/9 unclear
97/3/0 very likely
44/50/6 unclear
83/17/0 likely
97/3/0 very likely
39/59/2 trivial
63/36/1 possibly
100/0/0 most likely
26/65/9 unclear
24/63/13 unclear
70/25/4 possibly
1/41/58 possibly

Data are meanSD; ES: Effect Size; : T1-T3 Change; CI: Confidence Interval
APT: Aquatic plyometric training (n=20), PT: Plyometric training (n=20), CG: Control group (n=25)
RJ10: Rebound jump performing 10 jumps, DJ30: Drop jump from height of 30cm, DJ50: Drop jump from height of 50cm, CK: Creatine kinase
Intra-group significant differences in respect to test 1: *P<0.05, **P<0.01, ***P<0.001
Inter-group significant differences in respect to control group: $ P<0.05

Jurado-Lavanant A et al. The Effects of Aquatic Int J Sports Med

This document was downloaded for personal use only. Unauthorized distribution is strictly prohibited.

IJSM/4235/17.7.2015/MPS

Training & Testing

IJSM/4235/17.7.2015/MPS

Training & Testing

CG

CG

PT

PT

APT

APT

20 15 10 5
0
5
10 15 20
Impairment
Trivial
Improvement

9
12
12 9 6 3
0
3
6
Trivial
Improvement
Impairment

% Change

% Change

Drop Jump 50cm

Creatine Kinase

CG

CG

PT

PT

APT

APT

20 15 10 5
0
5
10 15 20
Impairment
Trivial
Improvement

50 40 30 20 10 0 10 20 30 40 50
Impairment
Trivial
Improvement

% Change

% Change

Table 3 Comparison between groups in selected neuromuscular


performance variables from T1 to T3.
Changes observed for TEST 1 to TEST 3
Standarized (Cohen)

RJ10

DJ30

DJ50

CK

Fig. 1 Change intra-groups in repeated jump a,


drop jump 30cm b, drop jump 50cm c and blood
creatine kinase levels d in land-based plyometric
training (PT), aquatic plyometric training (APT) and
control group (CG). Bars indicate uncertainty in the
true mean changes with 90% confidence intervals.
Trivial (shaded) areas were calculated from the
smallest worthwhile change.

Drop Jump 30 cm

APT vs. PT
APT vs. CG
PT vs. CG
APT vs. PT
APT vs. CG
PT vs. CG
APT vs. PT
APT vs. CG
PT vs. CG
APT vs. PT
APT vs. CG
PT vs. CG

Percent changes of

differences (90% CI)

better/trivial/worse effect

0.43 (0.94 to 0.08)


0.03 (0.57 to 0.63)
0.47 (0.01 to 0.93)
0.15 (0.45 to 0.16)
0.14 (0.19 to 0.46)
0.29 (0.08 to 0.66)
0.43 (0.84 to 0.02)
0.18 (0.28 to 0.65)
0.61 (0.18 to 1.05)
0.20 (0.72 to 0.33)
0.34 (0.15 to 0.84)
0.59 (0.04 to 1.13)

0/3/97 very likely


26/42/32 unclear
84/16/1 likely
3/58/39 trivial
37/59/4 trivial
66/33/2 possibly
1/17/82 likely
47/44/9 unclear
94/6/0 likely
10/40/50 unclear
69/28/4 possibly
88/11/1 likely

APT: Aquatic plyometric training (n=20), PT: Plyometric training (n=20), CG: Control
group (n=25)
RJ10: Rebound jump performing 10 jumps, DJ30: Drop jump from height of 30cm,
DJ50: Drop jump from height of 50cm; CK: Creatine kinase; CI; confidence interval.
For clarity, all differences are presented as improvements for the first group compared with second group (i.e., U16 vs. U18), so that negative and positive differences
are in the same direction

compared the effectiveness of aquatic-based vs. land-based plyometric training on DJ and RJ tests. On the basis of previous
studies, it can also be expected that both types of training produce similar gains in the different jump tests performed in the
present study. Nonetheless, our results are not in agreement
with the above mentioned studies. After the 10 weeks training
intervention, only PT showed significant improvements in all

the variables analyzed, whereas APT and CG remained unaltered. PT presented greater gains than APT for DJ50 (13.4% vs.
3.6%), DJ30 (7.4% vs. 5.1%) and RJ10 (11.7% vs. 2.3%). These differences are also supported by the inferential statistics based on
Table 2,3). The
the interpretation of the magnitude of effects (
specificity principle could explain that APT does not produce
enhancement in DJ performance. DJ requires an athlete to drop
from a static box, land, immediately execute a maximal vertical
jump toward a target, and finish with a second landing. Thus,
performance in this kind of jump depends to a large extent on
the subjects ability to drop and jump, exploiting the elastic
energy accumulated in the elastic components in series during
the lengthening muscular phase [1]. As it has been described
previously [27], eccentric and concentric muscle actions get
slower in the aquatic environment because water is denser than
air and provides resistance to movement.
Numerous studies have shown that short-term land-based plyometric training is an effective method to improve DJ performance,
regardless of age, sex or training status [9,10,12,29,33,37,42].
In a recent review, Markovic and Mikulic [24] indicated that the
mean percent of gain produced by plyometric training on DJ performance is 13.4% (range, 1.4% to 32.4%). In some studies
[9,33,37,42], the training program included DJ itself as training
exercise, which could stimulate the enhancement by a greater
technical learning. Our results (7.4% and 13.4% for DJ30 and
DJ50, respectively) are in line with those of Markovic and Mikulic [24], despite in the present study only CMJ was used as training exercise. These improvements in DJ height could be related
to shorter ground contact time and amortization phase produced after training intervention [9,39], although this explanation is speculative since contact time was not measured in the
present study. Unlike land-based plyometric training, we have

Jurado-Lavanant A et al. The Effects of Aquatic Int J Sports Med

This document was downloaded for personal use only. Unauthorized distribution is strictly prohibited.

Repeated Jump

IJSM/4235/17.7.2015/MPS

Training & Testing

Repetitive Jump

Drop Jump 30 cm

Drop Jump 50 cm

Creatine Kinase

PT vs. CG

APT vs. CG

APT vs. PT
12 8 8 4 4 0

8 12

12 9

12

181512 9 3 0

6 12 15 18

80 60 40 20

20

40

60

80

only found one study that analyzes the changes produced on DJ


performance after aquatic-based plyometric training [27]. Miller
et al. [27] did not observe changes in strength and power during
a DJ performed from a height of 15 cm, regardless of the deepwater aquatic plyometric (chest and waist deep). Therefore, our
results are in line with those reported by Miller et al. [27],
although the differences in the methodology hinder the direct
comparison between the results of both studies: a) in the study
performed by Miller et al., [27] the number of jumps performed
was considerably lower than the number of jumps performed in
our study (80120 vs. 100550 jumps per session); b) the groups
were formed by both genders, whereas in our study all the individuals were males; c) the plyometric training was carried out in
an aquatic environment with a water level up to the waist,
whereas in our study the depth of the pool was greater; d) in
such a study, jump performance was assessed through ground
reaction force and power, whereas in our study height jump was
used to determine drop jump performance.
Eccentric and concentric muscle actions get slower in the aquatic
environment because water is denser than air and provides
resistance to movement; the more resistance, the deeper the
aquatic environment [27]. Training in water too deep might
inhibit myotatic reflex and slow down the SSC velocity during
the aquatic plyometric intervention [27], enabling a lower transfer from aquatic training over reactive jump performance. This
fact could be a plausible explanation to the results of the present
study, because the depth of the pool (2.20m) might have minimized the eccentric phase of each jump and deleted completely
the posterior landing phase. Curiously, the higher the drop
height jump, the greater the differences between both groups. It
seems that the higher the drop height jump, the more relevant
the energy storage capacity of the muscles involved in the drop
and concentric phases to attain a higher jump height. As APT did
not experience eccentric phase nor land phase during the training period, the adaptations for these phases might be attenuated, especially when the drop height was higher.
With regard to RJ10, PT showed significant (P=0.0010.05)
enhancements after 5 and 10 weeks of training and these
improvements were significantly (P<0.05) greater compared to
CG. Furthermore, PT showed very likely better effects than APT
(97/3/0%). These results are similar to those found for DJ30 and
DJ50. In fact, the relationships observed between RJ10 and DJ30
(r=0.66, P<0.001), as well as DJ50 (r=0.66, P<0.001) indicate
that both types of jumps have common factors that determine
performance. To our knowledge, no study has analyzed the
changes in a repeated jump test following aquatic-based plyoJurado-Lavanant A et al. The Effects of Aquatic Int J Sports Med

metric training, and few studies have analyzed the effect of


land-based plyometric training on repeated jump [10,32]. Diallo
et al. [10] reported significant (P<0.01) improvements in a
repeated jump test in child soccer players after 10 weeks of plyometric training, whereas Saunders et al. [32] collected non-significant enhancements (15%, P=0.11) in mean power attained
during 5 repeated jumps test in highly trained middle and long
distance runners. These results are in accordance with those
results observed for PT in the present study and indicate that
land-based plyometric training is effective at improving the performance in high-velocity actions, which are determinants in
the rate of force development and the ground contact time [24].
As mentioned above, the depth of the pool used in the present
study (2.20m) might decrease the speed of the SSC for the lower
extremity and increase the ground contact time compared with
land plyometrics, affecting the elastic-recoil properties of the
muscles [27]. The relationship between the SSC performed on
land and at different depths of water remains unclear. Further
studies should analyze the kinetic and kinematic variables performing plyometrics at different depths of water. Furthermore,
water level above waist height for aquatic plyometrics may
impair control and coordination, making it more difficult to
maintain stability in an upright position [23,26]. These factors
might produce a slowdown of the SSC during each jump. Therefore, since the repeated jumps test is related to the performance
of fast movements with short ground contact time, it is reasonable that we have not observed changes for APT.
It is a well-established principle of training that progressive
overload is necessary to increase muscular strength and physical
performance. Some studies suggest that once a given optimal
volume has been reached, a further increase in training volume
provides no further benefits and can even lead to reduced performance [13,14]. Our results seem to be in accordance with
previous studies [9,13,14], since both training groups (PT and
APT) attained their best performance in week 5 and then, these
improvements decreased sharply after completing 10 weeks of
Table 2). In this period, the number of
training intervention (
jumps per session increased from 300 to 550. These results
might suggest that adaptations do not respond to volume stimuli
in a linear dose-response fashion, as it has been reported previously [13,14]. Cadore et al. [5] consider that 100 jumps per session could be an appropriate stimulus to produce marked acute
physiological responses even in highly trained athletes. In the
present study, the training volume attained from week 5 to week
10 was far greater than the 100 jumps per session recommended
by Cadore and colleagues [5]. Therefore, the drop in performance

This document was downloaded for personal use only. Unauthorized distribution is strictly prohibited.

Fig. 2 Change between-groups in repeated jump a, drop jump 30cm b, drop jump 50cm c and blood creatine kinase levels d in land-based plyometric
training (PT), aquatic plyometric training (APT) and control group (CG). Bars indicate uncertainty in the true mean changes with 90% confidence intervals.
Trivial (shaded) areas were calculated from the smallest worthwhile change. For clarity, all differences are presented as improvements for the first group
compared to the second group (i.e., PT vs. CG), so that negative and positive differences are in the same direction.

IJSM/4235/17.7.2015/MPS

Conflict of interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


Affiliations
1
Laboratory of Human Movement, Universidad de Mlaga, Andaluca-Tech,
Malaga, Spain
2
Sport Medicine School, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Mlaga,
Andaluca-Tech, Malaga, Spain

Centro de Investigacin en Rendimiento Fsico y Deportivo, Universidad


Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain
4
Andalusian Center of Sports Medicine, Tourism and Sports Counseling,
Malaga, Spain
5
Faculty of Education Sciences, Universidad de Mlaga, Andaluca-Tech,
Malaga, Spain

References

1 Arampatzis A, Bruggemann GP, Klapsing GM. Leg stiffness and mechanical energetic processes during jumping on a sprung surface. Med Sci
Sports Exerc 2001; 33: 923931
2 Arazi H, Coetzee B, Asadi A. Comparative effect of land- and aquaticbased plyometric training on jumping ability and agility of young
basketball players. S Afr J Res Sport Phys Educ Recr 2012; 34: 114
3 Batterham AM, Hopkins WG. Making meaningful inferences about
magnitudes. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 2006; 1: 5057
4 Bissas AI, Havenetidis K. The use of various strength-power tests as
predictors of sprint running performance. J Sports Med Phys Fitness
2008; 48: 4954
5 Cadore EL, Pinheiro E, Izquierdo M, Correa CS, Radaelli R, Martins JB,
Lhullier FL, Laitano O, Cardoso M, Pinto RS. Neuromuscular, hormonal,
and metabolic responses to different plyometric training volumes in
rugby players. J Strength Cond Res 2013; 27: 30013010
6 Castillo-Rodriguez A, Fernandez-Garcia JC, Chinchilla-Minguet JL, Carnero EA. Relationship between muscular strength and sprints with
changes of direction. J Strength Cond Res 2012; 26: 725732
7 Cohen J. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, MI: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1988
8 Chatzinikolaou A, Fatouros IG, Gourgoulis V, Avloniti A, Jamurtas AZ,
Nikolaidis MG, Douroudos I, Michailidis Y, Beneka A, Malliou P, Tofas
T, Georgiadis I, Mandalidis D, Taxildaris K. Time course of changes
in performance and inflammatory responses after acute plyometric
exercise. J Strength Cond Res 2010; 24: 13891398
9 de Villarreal ES, Gonzalez-Badillo JJ, Izquierdo M. Low and moderate
plyometric training frequency produces greater jumping and sprinting gains compared with high frequency. J Strength Cond Res 2008;
22: 715725
10 Diallo O, Dore E, Duche P, Van Praagh E. Effects of plyometric training followed by a reduced training programme on physical performance in prepubescent soccer players. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2001; 41: 342348
11 Donoghue OA, Shimojo H, Takagi H. Impact forces of plyometric exercises performed on land and in water. Sports Health 2011; 3: 303309
12 Gehri DJ, Ricard MD, Kleiner DM, Kirkendall DT. A comparison of plyometric training techniques for improving vertical jump ability and
energy production. J Strength Cond Res 1998; 12: 8589
13 Gonzalez-Badillo JJ, Gorostiaga EM, Arellano R, Izquierdo M. Moderate resistance training volume produces more favorable strength
gains than high or low volumes during a short-term training cycle. J
Strength Cond Res 2005; 19: 689697
14 Gonzalez-Badillo JJ, Izquierdo M, Gorostiaga EM. Moderate volume
of high relative training intensity produces greater strength gains
compared with low and high volumes in competitive weightlifters.
J Strength Cond Res 2006; 20: 7381
15 Gorostiaga EM, Navarro-Amezqueta I, Calbet JA, Hellsten Y, Cusso R,
Guerrero M, Granados C, Gonzalez-Izal M, Ibanez J, Izquierdo M. Energy
metabolism during repeated sets of leg press exercise leading to failure or not. PLoS One 2012; 7: e40621
16 Harriss DJ, Atkinson G. Ethical standards in sport and exercise science
research: 2014 update. Int J Sports Med 2013; 34: 10251028
17 Hopkins WG. Spreadsheets for analysis of controlled trials, with
adjustment for a subject characteristic. Sportscience 2006; 10: 4650
18 Hopkins WG, Marshall SW, Batterham AM, Hanin J. Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci
Sports Exerc 2009; 41: 313
19 Izquierdo M, Ibanez J, Calbet JA, Navarro-Amezqueta I, Gonzalez-Izal M,
Idoate F, Hakkinen K, Kraemer WJ, Palacios-Sarrasqueta M, Almar M,
Gorostiaga EM. Cytokine and hormone responses to resistance training. Eur J Appl Physiol 2009; 107: 397409
20 Jamurtas AZ, Fatouros I, Buckenmeyer P, Kokkinidis E, Taxildaris K, Kambas A, Kyriazis G. Effects of plyometric exercise on muscle soreness
and plasma creatine kinase levels and its comparison with eccentric
and concentric exercise. J Strength Cond Res 2000; 14: 6874
21 Jurado-Lavanant A, Fernandez-Garca JC, Alvero-Cruz JR. Aquatic plyometric training. Sci Sports 2013; 28: 8893
22 Khlifa R, Aouadi R, Hermassi S, Chelly MS, Jlid MC, Hbacha H, Castagna
C. Effects of a plyometric training program with and without added
load on jumping ability in basketball players. J Strength Cond Res
2010; 24: 29552961
Jurado-Lavanant A et al. The Effects of Aquatic Int J Sports Med

This document was downloaded for personal use only. Unauthorized distribution is strictly prohibited.

shown for both training groups after training period could be


due to excessive training volume. Thus, these results appear to
indicate that a training volume higher than 300 jumps per session might not produce greater improvements on jump performance, but it may even contribute to decline in performance.
Previous researchers have suggested that land-based plyometric
training carries an increased risk of muscle soreness because of
the forces generated during ground impact and intense plyometric contraction [20,25,30], whereas aquatic training seems
to provide a non-impact environment that produces little
stress on muscle, bones, and connective tissue compared to land
activities [11,41]. In the present study, PT seemed to produce
higher muscular stress than APT (15.0% vs. 3.2%), although the
differences were not statistically significant. Several studies that
have compared the muscle damage of aquatic and land-based
plyometrics training have also shown that aquatic plyometric
exercises are associated with less muscle soreness [30,34],
although only one [34] assessed blood CK concentration. Our
results are in line with those observed by these authors [34] suggesting that aquatic plyometric training may be a safe alternative for improving muscle strength and power with lower muscle
damage. Interestingly, both training groups showed greater CK
concentration in T2 compared to T3, despite the fact that the
training volume increased from 300 to 550 (83.3%) jumps per
session. This fact could be because the participants were adapted
to perform a large amount of jumps per session throughout the
training period. Thus, it seems that the increase in training volume did not involve an increase in muscle damage.
In conclusion, while aquatic and land-based plyometric training
have previously been associated with similar CMJ and SJ changes,
land-based plyometric training seems to produce greater gains
on reactive jump performance (DJ30, DJ50 and RJ10) than
aquatic plyometric training. These differences could be explained
by the specificity principle, because APT did not experience
eccentric phase or land phase during the training period, thus,
the adaptations for these phases were attenuated. On the other
hand, the observed performance decrement from the fifth week
of training program could indicate that a training volume higher
than 300 jumps per session might not produce greater improvements on jump performance. Previous studies have collected
that an excessive training volume might overburden the neuroendocrine system, limiting physical development [13,15]. With
regard to muscular stress, it seems that PT produced higher CK
concentration than APT (15.0% vs. 3.2%), suggesting that aquatic
plyometrics produces little stress on muscle, bones, and connective tissue because there are lower forces and less impact during
landing compared to land activities. Therefore, although aquatic
plyometric training appears to be a safer training method than
land plyometric training, when performance depends on the
ability to drop and immediately execute a maximal vertical
jump toward a target (DJ) or perform repeated high-intensity
actions (RJ10), strength and conditioning coaches should consider land-based plyometric training in order to achieve the
greatest improvements in performance.

Training & Testing

23 Koury JM. Aquatic Therapy Programming Guidelines for Orthopedic


Rehabilitation. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1996
24 Markovic G, Mikulic P. Neuro-musculoskeletal and performance adaptations to lower-extremity plyometric training. Sports Med 2010; 40:
859895
25 Miller MG, Berry DC, Bullard S, Gilders R. Comparisons of land-based
and aquatic-based plyometric programs during an 8-week training
period. J Sport Rehabil 2002; 11: 269283
26 Miller MG, Berry DC, Gilders R, Bullard S. Recommendations for implementing an aquatic plyometric program. Strength Cond J 2001; 25:
2834
27 Miller MG, Cheatham CC, Porter AR, Ricard MD, Hennigar D, Berry DC.
Chest- and waist-deep aquatic plyometric training and average force,
power, and vertical jump performance. Int J Aquat Res Educ 2007;
1: 145155
28 Ploeg AH, Miller MG, Holcomb WR, ODonogue J, Berry D, Dibbet TJ. The
effects of high volume aquatic training on vertical jump, muscle power
and torque. Int J Aquat Res 2010; 4: 3948
29 Ramirez-Campillo R, Alvarez C, Henriquez-Olguin C, Baez EB, Martinez C,
Andrade DC, Izquierdo M. Effects of plyometric training on endurance
and explosive strength performance in competitive middle- and longdistance runners. J Strength Cond Res 2014; 28: 97104
30 Robinson LE, Devor ST, Merrick MA, Buckworth J. The effects of land vs.
aquatic plyometrics on power, torque, velocity, and muscle soreness
in women. J Strength Cond Res 2004; 18: 8491
31 Santos EJ, Janeira MA. The effects of plyometric training followed by
detraining and reduced training periods on explosive strength in
adolescent male basketball players. J Strength Cond Res 2011; 25:
441452
32 Saunders PU, Telford RD, Pyne DB, Peltola EM, Cunningham RB, Gore CJ,
Hawley JA. Short-term plyometric training improves running economy
in highly trained middle and long distance runners. J Strength Cond
Res 2006; 20: 947954

Jurado-Lavanant A et al. The Effects of Aquatic Int J Sports Med

IJSM/4235/17.7.2015/MPS

33 Sedano Campo S, Vaeyens R, Philippaerts RM, Redondo JC, de Benito


AM, Cuadrado G. Effects of lower-limb plyometric training on body
composition, explosive strength, and kicking speed in female soccer
players. J Strength Cond Res 2009; 23: 17141722
34 Shiran MY, Kordi MR, Ziaee V, Ravasi A, Mansournia MA. The effect of
aquatic and land plyometric training on physical performance and
muscular enzymes in male wrestlers. Res J Biol Sci 2008; 3: 475461
35 Spurrs RW, Murphy AJ, Watsford ML. The effect of plyometric training
on distance running performance. Eur J Appl Physiol 2003; 89: 17
36 Stemm JD, Jacobson BH. Comparison of land- and aquatic-based plyometric training on vertical jump performance. J Strength Cond Res
2007; 21: 568571
37 Taube W, Leukel C, Lauber B, Gollhofer A. The drop height determines
neuromuscular adaptations and changes in jump performance in
stretch-shortening cycle training. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2012; 22:
671683
38 Taube W, Leukel C, Schubert M, Gruber M, Rantalainen T, Gollhofer A.
Differential modulation of spinal and corticospinal excitability during
drop jumps. J Neurophysiol 2008; 99: 12431252
39 Toumi H, Best TM, Martin A, FGuyer S, Poumarat G. Effects of eccentric
phase velocity of plyometric training on the vertical jump. Int J Sports
Med 2004; 25: 391398
40 Toumi H, Best TM, Martin A, Poumarat G. Muscle plasticity after weight
and combined (weight+jump) training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2004;
36: 15801588
41 Triplett NT, Colado JC, Benavent J, Alakhdar Y, Madera J, Gonzalez
LM, Tella V. Concentric and impact forces of single-leg jumps in an
aquatic environment versus on land. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009; 41:
17901796
42 Young WB, Wilson GJ, Byrne C. A comparison of drop jump training
methods: effects on leg extensor strength qualities and jumping performance. Int J Sports Med 1999; 20: 295303

This document was downloaded for personal use only. Unauthorized distribution is strictly prohibited.

Training & Testing