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Explosive exercises in sports training: a critical review

Bruce-Low, Stewart and Smith, Dave (2007) Explosive exercises in sports training: a critical review. Journal of exercise physiology - online, 10 (1). pp. 21-33. ISSN 1097-9751

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Abstract

This paper reviews evidence relating to the effectiveness and safety of explosive exercises, such as Olympic style weight lifting, other weight training exercises performed at a fast cadence, and plyometric exercises, that are commonly used in the strength and conditioning training of athletes. Contrary to popular belief and the practices of many athletes, the peerreviewed evidence does not support the view that such exercises are more effective than traditional, slow and heavy weight training in enhancing muscle power and athletic performance. In fact, such exercises do not appear to be any more effective in this regard than weight training at a relatively slow cadence, and some evidence suggests they are less so. Also, such explosive exercises do not transfer well (if at all) to athletic performance on the sports field, and present a significant injury risk. Therefore, such exercises should not be recommended in the strength and conditioning training of athletes, except those who need to learn the specific skill of lifting heavy weights fast, such as Olympic lifters and strongmen.

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