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Effects of Plyometric Training Versus Traditional Weight Training on Strength, Power, and Aesthetic Jumping Ability in Female Collegiate Dancers

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Abstract:

While the benefits of traditional strength training for dancers has been examined, no such investigation has been performed for plyometric training. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare the effects of plyometric training and traditional weight training on aesthetic jumping ability, lower-body strength, and power in collegiate dancers. Eighteen female dancers who were enrolled in a minimum of one intermediate or advanced ballet or modern class at Skidmore College volunteered to participate in the study. Twelve subjects were randomly assigned to a plyometric (n = 6) or traditional weight training (n = 6) group. The remaining six subjects served as a self-selected control group. The plyometric group performed 3 sets of 8 repetitions of 4 different lower-body plyometric exercises twice a week. The weight training group performed 3 sets of 6 to 8 repetitions of 4 lower-body isotonic exercises twice a week. The control group refrained from all forms of strength training. Each subject maintained her normal dance classes throughout the six week intervention. All subjects were tested prior to and following the six-week training period. Testing consisted of assessments of jumping skill and lower-body strength and power. Strength was assessed via 3 one-repetition maximum tests: leg press, leg curl, and leg extension. Power was assessed with a Wingate anaerobic power test and vertical jump height tests. Aesthetic jumping ability was assessed via an evaluation by dance faculty at Skidmore College on ballon, jump height, ability to point the feet in the air, and overall jumping ability. There were no differences in the descriptive measures of jumping ability, strength or power among the groups at the start of the study. The plyometric group significantly increased leg press strength (37%), standing vertical jump height (8.3%), and aesthetic jump height (14%). The weight training group significantly increased leg press strength (32%), leg curl strength (23%), mean anaerobic power (6%), aesthetic jump height (22%), and aesthetic ability to point the feet in the air (20%). No significant changes were seen in the control group. The results of this study indicate that either plyometric training or traditional lower-body weight training can be useful in improving variables applicable to dance. This study also supports the notion that short-term dance training alone may not be sufficient to elicit improvements in these variables.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Exercise Science, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York 2: Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Exercise Science, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866;, Email: pfehling@skidmore.edu

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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