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Red de Revistas Científicas de América Latina y el Caribe, España y Portugal
Effects of combined electrostimulation and
plyometric training on vertical jump and speed
tests
ELISA BENITO-MARTÍNEZ
1
, AMADOR J. LARA-SÁNCHEZ
1
, DANIEL BERDEJO-DEL-
FRESNO
2
, EMILIO J. MARTÍNEZ-LÓPEZ
1
1
Research Group HUM653 Laboratory. Dep. Didactic of Musical, Plastic and Corporal Expresions. University of
Jaén, Spain
2
England National Futsal Team and Manchester Futsal Club, Manchester, United Kingdom
ABSTRACT
Benito-Martínez E, Lara-Sánchez AJ, Berdejo-del-Fresno D, Martínez-López EJ. Effects of combined
electrostimulation and plyometric training on vertical jump and speed tests.
J. Hum. Sport Exerc.
Vol. 6,
No. 4, pp. 603-615, 2011. The aim of this study was to determine the performance evolution of a group
of athletes after 8 weeks of training that combined electrostimulation (NM ES) and plyometrics (PT). 78
medium level sprinter athletes participated, 40 women and 38 men (age, 15.9±1.4 years old, body
mass index, 20.5±1.68 kg/m
2
; weight 58.53±8.05 kg; height, 1.68±0.07 m). The sample was
randomized into four groups [Control (PT only), NM ES + PT, PT + NM ES, and Simultaneous
(plyometric jumps were performed through the passage of current). Improvements were obtained in the
Abalakov jump of 3.57% (
p
<0.01), 13.51% (
p
<0.001), 1.23% (
p
<0.01), and 0.77%, and in the sprint of
0.45%, 3.87% (
p
<0.05), 4.56% (
p
<0.01) and 7.26%
p
<0.001 for the control group, NM ES + PT group,
PT + NM ES group, and Simultaneous group, respectively. It was concluded that a) improvement in
vertical jump requires the application of the NM ES prior to PT; b) the sprinter athlete must combine the
workout simultaneously or apply the ES after the PT training; and c) in sportspeople that require
improvement in both the vertical jump and speed tests (e.g. basketball) the simultaneous method is not
recommended, the order of application of NM ES and PT being non-determinant. Finally, the time
needed to obtain significant improvement in strength training through a combination of NM ES and PT
is substantially lower (15 days) than the time needed to improve speed (30 days).
Key words:
ELECTROSTIMULATION, PLYOMETRICS, MUSCLE STRENGTH, ABALAKOV JUMP, SPEED 30 M
LAUNCHED.
1
Corresponding author.
University of Jaén. Dep. Didactic of Musical, Plastic and Corporal Expresions. Faculty of
Humanities and Education Sciences (D-2, 143). P. Las Lagunillas. 23071, Jaén. Spain.
E-mail: alara@ujaen.es
Submitted for publication September 2011
Accepted for publication October 2011
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE ISSN 1988-5202
© Faculty of Education. University of Alicante
doi:10.4100/jhse.2011.64.04
Original Article
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
INTRODUCTION
Neuromuscular electrostimulation (NM ES) consists on applying an electric current on the muscle or
peripheral nerve in order to provoke its involuntary contraction (Lake,
1992
). Its use for the training of
athletes has as a main advantage a higher increase in force than in voluntary training (VT) (Maffiuletti et
al.,
2002
; Brocherie et al.,
2005
; Babault et al.,
2007
). However, its main disadvantages lie in the
inhibition of the myotatic reflex and Golgi organ tendon during its application, thereby increasing the risk
of injury if their use is not adequate (Raquena et al.,
2005
; Jubeau et al.,
2006
), and secondly in the
athlete's inability to obtain improved agonist-antagonist muscle coordination (Holcomb,
2005
; Paillard,
2008
).
In the last two decades, training with NM ES to develop lower body power in athletes has been
successfully used by authors such as Babault (
2007
) and Maffiuletti (
2002
), which obtained
improvements of 2.4% and 5.8% in Drop Jump (DP), respectively. Similarly, they found incremental
improvements of 2.4% (Herrero et al.,
2006
) and 5.8% (Brocherie et al.,
2005
) in 20-meter and 50-
meter sprint, respectively.
Moreover, the term Plyometrics (PT) was first used in 1975 by Wilt (Chu,
1999
). Its Latin root plyo +
metric stands for “measured increase” and consists of the muscular use of the movement eccentric
phase prior to its concentric contraction. This method offers several advantages such as the increase in
jumping ability and the improvement of intramuscular coordination (Kotzamanidis,
2006
; Markovic et al.,
2007
). Likewise, it does not show any significant disadvantages for the athlete, as long as it is not used
in a state where a strong mechanical muscle overload is not recommended, i.e. in periods of detraining
and overtraining, after an injury, or during the time before immediate competition (Lehance et al.,
2005
;
Takano et al.,
2010
). For several decades, most of the results obtained in athletes after plyometric
training have provided high efficiency and significantly, since both explosive and reactive strength
improve (Verkhoshansky,
1999
;
Herrero et al.,
2006
; Markovic et al.,
2007
; Maffiuletti,
2008
; Arazi &
Asadi,
2011
).
Although previous evidence has confirmed that strength training in isolation, either by NM ES or PT,
can offer high efficiency on the explosive and explosive-elastic-reactive force manifestation, the
combined effect of both is not known. It was found that the physiological adaptations produced in the
combined therapy are much greater than those that occur in isolated therapies such as NM ES or VT -
(Vanderthommen & Crielaar,
2001
; Kotzamanidis,
2006
). However, the combined use of NM ES and
PT has not been commonly used previously (Maffiuletti et al.,
2002
; Herrero et al.,
2006
). Furthermore,
the combined use has been employed mainly to benefit from performance in tests on lower limb power
as a DJ, Countermovement Jump (CMJ) and Squat Jump (SJ) (Maffiuletti et al.,
2002
), but less so in
speed (Herrero et al.,
2006
).
In order to evaluate the previous demonstrations of force in the extensor muscles of the lower limbs
sprint and vertical jump tests (Berdejo & González,
2009
; Martínez-López et al.,
2009
; Riggs &
Sheppard,
2009
) have often been used. Currently, race tests to measure the explosive-elastic-reactive
force involving a limited muscle amplitude show high validity and reliability due to the use of photocells.
Besides, the vertical jump tests are standardized, as well as simple to implement, and there is enough
information according to the various sporting disciplines. However, the need for more reliable data has
encouraged the use of contact platforms that allow to obtain indicators to evaluate the explosive
demonstration of force (Lara et al.,
2006
; Juárez et al.,
2008
).
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
The aim of this study was to determine the evolution of physical performance after 8 weeks of NM ES
and PT training. Particularly, it sought to know the possible differences between performance in speed
and jumping, derived from combined NM ES and PT training, performed with different implementation
protocols. It was hypothesized that the order of application of NM ES and PT during training had
different effects depending on the needs of the athletic event.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Experimental approach to the problem
This is a quantitative study of a duration of 8 weeks where 4 measures (M
1
= initial measure, M
2
= 2
nd
week, M
3
= 4
th
week, and M
4
= 8
th
week) were made. The dependent variables were the vertical jump
height and the running time, which were taken through the Abalakov test and the 30-meter sprint
launched test. The independent variable was the training method.
Subjects
78 mid-level athletes participated in this study, 40 women and 38 men from speed disciplines (100 and
200-meter dash and 100 and 110-meter hurdles). The group characteristics were the following: they
were aged 15.9±1.4, had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 20.5±1.68, a weight of 58.53 ± 8.05 kg, and a
height of 1.68±0.07 m. The average time that participants had been training in their discipline was
5.64±2.13 years. Athletes had not previously experienced electrical training.
Procedures
The weight and height of the participants were measured with a 100-milligram sensitivity scale and a 1-
millimeter sensitivity tape measure SECA (SECA Ltd, Germany). The Body Mass Index (BMI) was
calculated using the Quetelec formula: BMI = weight (kg) / height (m
2
). Two photoelectric cells Eleiko
Sport MAT RS 232 (United Kingdom) were employed to record the times of the 30-meter sprint
launched test. The jump tests were recorded with a jump contact platform PSION ORGANISER 2 CM
(British). Also an electrostimulator Megasonic P4 313 Sport of Medicarim (Spain) was used for the
electrostimulation training. Athletes were distributed through a simple random probability sampling. The
distribution and treatment of the four groups was as follows:
Group 1 (Control): made up of 20 athletes (9 women and 11 men) aged 17.05±1.47, with a BMI of
20.0±1.5. These athletes performed the planned plyometric jumps twice a week and received as a
placebo a Type TENS analgesic current. The athletes were never informed of the type of current
applied to eliminate potential mistakes derived from this fact. Both NM ES and TENS were applied
through the same electrotherapy device and the TENS current was applied in a pulsating way to obtain
muscular contraction. This way, although the NM ES current had the purpose of developing strength,
the TENS current was merely analgesic. However, the athletes perceived muscular contraction in both
cases, thus avoiding any potential mistakes derived from the athletes’ awareness of the type of current
applied.
Group 2 (NM ES + Plyometrics): comprised by 20 athletes (11 women and 9 men) aged 17.65±1.47
and with a BMI of 20.7±1.3. In the first place, this group received the ES training and later did the
plyometric jumps protocol (Figure
1
).
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
Figure 1.
Application of electrostimulation to the athlete before plyometric training [Group 2: NM ES +
PT] and after plyometric training [Group 3: PT + NM ES].
Group 3 (Plyometric + NM ES): consisting of 19 athletes (10 women and 9 men) aged 16.16±1.72 and
with a BMI of 20.5±2.2. In this case, the athletes did the plyometric jumps first and then 12 min of NM
ES were applied.
Group 4 (Simultaneous): made up of 19 athletes (10 women and 9 men), aged 17.7±1.49 and a BMI of
20.7±1.6. This group did the combined training, which consisted on doing the same protocol of
plyometric jumps as the other groups, together with the simultaneous application of NM ES. In other
words, the athletes jumped when they felt the electrical current and had their rest time when the current
was not applied (Figure
2
).
Figure 2.
Combined training with plyometric jumps and electrostimulation [Group 4: Simultaneous].
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
Electrostimulation protocol
The search for an ideal NM ES training protocol has led to the use of a wide variety of electrical current
parameters. More recent studies have allowed to establish as the most appropriate use a stimulus
frequency of between 120 and 150 Hz, a pulse width of between 0.30 and 0.40 s, a ratio of pulse time
and resting time of 1:3 and 1:4, and a treatment duration of between 10 and 15 min (Maffiuletti et al.,
2002
; Brocherie et al.,
2005
; Herrero et al.,
2006
; Babault et al.,
2007
). Regarding the applied current
intensity, which is measured by the percentage of maximal isometric voluntary contraction, the
established range has been very wide, being used from 50% (Child et al.,
1998
) up to 100% (Delitto et
al.,
1989
), or even maximum intensities tolerated by athletes (Brocherie et al.,
2005
; Herrero et al.,
2006
).
The current parameters used were: frequency of 150 Hz, a pulse width of 0.35 s, a time of contraction-
rest of 3-12 s, a dosage of 2 days / week and a total time of 12 min application. The current intensity
applied was the maximum tolerated by the athlete, which corresponded to an average intensity of
26.39±7.11 and 26.22±5.88 mA in men and women, respectively.
Plyometric protocol
The plyometric protocol consisted on the following exercises:
1
st
Exercise:
it consisted of two sets of 8 repetitions each of maximum jumps raising the knees towards
the chest. Small bounces were not allowed in the landing, the jump’s impact absorbing stage being the
eccentric phase of the next jump. As for the Simultaneous group, this exercise was done isolatedly, that
is, without superimposing the electric current, since it was impossible to meet the required recovery
time of the electrical impulse between jumps.
2
nd
Exercise:
it consisted of two series of jumps of 8 repetitions each starting from a squatting position
(flexion of knees and hips while maintaining a clearance angle of flexion but always wider than 100°),
where three small jumps were done before the fourth maximum jump. Athletes could help themselves
with their upper limbs momentum. The landing jump had to be done in situ, and three small jumps were
performed again. In the Simultaneous group the athlete performed the maximum jump when they felt
the electrical current.
3
rd
Exercise:
it included 2 sets of 8 repetitions each. It contained the same steps as in the 2
nd
exercise,
except that the landing jump was done with one of the lower limbs in an advanced position. Also, after
the first little bounce, the feet came back to a parallel position to do the other two bounces from that
position.
The athletes performed a 2-day familiarization period prior to training, where the plyometric jump
technique was shown visually and repeatedly explained until they performed the exercises correctly. All
athletes submitted their written informed consent and the study complied with the Declaration of
Helsinki (rev. 2008).
Test application
Abalakov (ABK) tests and 30-meter sprint launched tests were repeated from the first day of the
experiment until the end of it every two weeks, letting at least 48 hours of rest. As for the Abalakov test,
there were two days of training during the week before the first tests, so that athletes became familiar
with the jumps and with the aim to avoid the possibility of bias because of poor exercise technique.
After a regulated warm-up, directed by the researcher, the athletes did the ABK jump test, which
consisted of bending their knees from the standing position and without making stop motion, and then
jumping as high as possible with the help of their upper limbs (González et al.,
2006
). Every athlete
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
performed four maximum jumps and only the highest was recorded. The recovery time between sets
was 1 min.
Two photocells were used to perform the 30 meters launched test, which were placed. 10 and 40
meters from the start, respectively. Athletes were advised that they should run as fast as possible from
the start line to the second cell (Cometti,
2002
). Every athlete performed this distance twice and only
the best time was recorded. The athletes had a 3-minute rest period between both sprints (Vittori,
1990
).
Statistical analysis
The statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS v. 19. The analysis of variance through repeated
measures ANOVA with adjusted confidence interval by Bonferroni and Pearson bivariate correlation
were done. The rejection criterion for establishing both the correlations and the significant differences
was set at the conventional level of 0.05.
RESULTS
The vertical jump height in each group of athletes is shown in Figure
3
. A 4 (group) x 4 (ABK jump)
ANOVA of the ABK Tests found a training effect between the vertical jump and the different treatment
groups (Control group, NM ES + PT group, PT + NM ES group, and Simultaneous group) F (9.222) =
6.31, effect size (
η
2
) = 0.20, which indicated that the jump height was different according to the different
groups. More specifically, statistically significant differences were found between the measurements of
the Control
group
[F (3.57) = 6.39,
η
2
= 0.25], the NM ES + PT group [F(3.57) = 15.12,
η
2
= 0.44] and
the PT + NM ES group [F(3.54) = 6.10,
η
2
= 0.25]. However, no differences were found in the
Simultaneous group [F(3.54) = 0.96,
η
2
=0.05].
Further analysis showed that the vertical jump highest performances were obtained in the group that
applied NM ES before PT. These improvements (
p
<0.001) were significant from the first 15 days of
training, continuing in the next two periods. Not so in the PT group that performed PT prior to NM ES,
where despite a significant increase (
p
<0.001) in the first 15 days, there was a reverse progression that
played down the benefits previously acquired. Nor did this happen in the Simultaneous group, where no
significant differences between any of the measurements were found. Finally, the Control group
experienced statistically significant improvements in jump height, especially from the first month of
training.
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
Figure 3.
Graphic shows the height of Abalakov jump, M
1
(initial), M
2
(2
nd
week), M
3
(4
th
week) and M
4
(8
th
week). Effect
produced in each group of athletes: *p<0.05, **p<0.01, ***p<0.001. The intergroup effect is shown as:
Ω
, and
ΩΩ
denote
p<0.05 and p<0.01 compared with Control group respectively on same measure. ¥ and ¥ ¥ ¥ denote p<0.05 and p<0.01
compared with Control group respectively on same measure.
The intergroup analysis confirmed the existence of significant differences according to the training
method used [F (3.74) = 2.82,
η
2 = 0.10]. The group that performed NM ES before PT obtained the
greatest and most progressive improvements compared to the Control group [M
2
= (Mean = 0.41±0.06
and 0.35±0.08 m,
p
<0.05)] for NM ES + PT and Control respectively; [M
3
= (Mean = 0.42±0.06 and
0.36±0.06 m,
p
<0.05)] and [M
4
= (Mean = 0.44±0.06 and 0.36±0.07 m),
p
<0.01)]. Although the group
that trained in reverse way (PT + NM ES) improved significantly (
p
<0.01) compared to the Control
group during the first 15 days of training (M
2
), a regression effect in M
3
and M
4
was obtained, with a
progressive loss of benefits as the training progressed. It is important to report that the intergroup
analysis of Abalakov test showed previous (M
1
) significant differences (
p
<0.01) only between the
Control group and the Simultaneous group.
The time used to run the 30-meter distance in each group of athletes is shown in Figure
4
. A 4 (group) x
4 (30-meter sprint launched) ANOVA found a training effect between the results of the 30-meter sprint
launched test and the different treatment groups [F (9.222) = 3.43,
η
2
= 0.12]. More specifically,
statistically significant differences were found between the measurements of the NM ES + PT group [F
(3.57) = 4.41,
η
2
=0.19], those of the PT + NM ES group [F (3.54) = 12.13,
η
2
= 0.40], and of the
Simultaneous group [F (3.54) = 34.76,
η
2
= 0.66]. No differences were found in the Control group [F
(3.57) = 0.02,
η
2
= 0.001].
Further analysis showed that the best performances in the 30-meter sprint launched were obtained in
the group where PT was applied prior to NM ES (
p
<0.01) and especially in the group of athletes who
trained NM ES and PT (
p
<0.001) simultaneously. Although significant improvements (
p
<0.05) were also
seen in athletes who had trained ES previously, the former occurred only after the first month of
training, coming to a halt in the subsequent records M
3
and M
4
. In the Control group no changes were
appreciated in the speed of participants regarding any of the measures.
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
Figure 4.
Graphical representation of the measures of time spent in 30-meter sprint launched test, M
1
(initial), M
2
(2
nd
week),
M
3
(4
th
week) and M
4
(8
th
week). Effect produced in each group of athletes: *p<0.05, **p<0.01, ***p<0.001. The intergroup
effect is shown as:
Ω
, and
ΩΩΩ
denote p<0.05 and p<0.001 respectively compared with Control group on same measure.
The intergroup analysis in 30-meter sprint launched test, showed the existence of significant differences
according to the training method used [F (3.74) = 31,
η
2 = 0.11]. Only athletes who trained
simultaneously obtained significant improvements in speed from the first month (M
3
) (M = 3.77±0.31 s,
p
<0.05) compared to the Control group (M = 4.04±0.39 s), further enhancing (
p
<0.001) in M
4
(Simultaneous group = 3.57±0.21 s, and Control group = 4.05±0.43 s). It is necessary to report that in
the intergroup analysis the 30-meters sprint launched test showed previous (M
1
) significant differences
(
p
<0.05) only between the PT + NM ES group and the Simultaneous group.
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
Figure 5.
Effect of different training methods for eight weeks. Smoothed curves. PT training from the previous stimulation of
the muscle fiber by NM ES improves significantly the vertical jump (p<0.05), but does not translate immediately into increase
of the athlete’s speed. Simultaneous training does not cause significant improvements in vertical jump, but in the 30-meter
sprint launched test (p<0.05).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
Next, some aspects of interest relating to combined NM ES and PT training will be discussed, as well
as their suitability to improve both strength and speed. The results analysis in the Abalakov jump tests
allowed to report three main aspects. First, the application of NM ES pre-training prior to PT causes a
more progressive and greater improvement than that of the other combinations (13.51%), since the
overstimulated muscle (Jubeau et al.,
2006
) is more active and receptive, allowing the subsequent
performance of plyometric exercises at greater intensity and, therefore, there would be a higher training
overload.
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
Secondly, if both methods are applied in reverse order (PT + NM ES) the jump improvements are lower
(1.23%) and less steady, obtaining a progressively worsening effect on the jump and loss of the
acquired improvements during the first weeks. And finally, the simultaneous application of PT and NM
ES slows down the improvement (0.77%) in the athlete's jumping ability. In this case, it is believed that
muscle tension during the current application does not allow a full movement of extension in every
bound, and more importantly, the disruption of every jump, due to the need to reach the current
adjustment, would prevent the benefit of the eccentric phase between jumps and consequently the
benefit of training the former.
Moreover, regarding the 30-meter sprint launched test, the highest performance was obtained in the
athletes who performed PT prior to NM ES (4.56%), and especially those who exercised simultaneously
(7.26%). Although both groups showed a worsening effect on the results after the first 15 days (M
2
),
later they took better advantage of supercompensation until they achieved a considerable and
progressive increase in performance from the first month of training. Unlike them, the group that used
NM ES previously showed that, although there was a significant improvement (p<0.05) during the
training period (3.87%), this occurred later (M
3
) and without any progression.
In order to understand the above mentioned counter effects on the results of both tests, we should first
isolate the obtained performances of our athletes in each training method, especially the PT training
that does not include the application of electrostimulation. Although most authors consider that PT is
effective to improve jump height (Bobbert,
1990
; Yanagi et al.,
2003
), others suggest that the positive
effects are not significant (Herrero et al.,
2006
; Markovic et al.,
2007
), and even cause adverse effects
(Luebbers et al.,
2003
). In the PT group significantly improvements (
p
<0.01) of 3.57% were seen in the
Abalakov jump. These results are lower than the averages reported by Markovic (Herrero et al.,
2006
)
between different types of vertical jumps SJ, DJ and CMJ with 6.9%, and similar to 3.6% in SJ by Tricoli
et al. (
2005
). However, in the same group a total stagnation in the time of 30-meter sprint launched test
was found. This confirms that PT training causes a disparate impact on the athletes’ improvement
similar to that found in other studies that showed improvements in the sprint phases (Kotzamanidis,
2006
) but not in the acceleration phase (Herrero et al.,
2006
). It has been evidenced that greater
jumping ability does not involve any increase in the athlete’s speed, as the moderate correlations
between the measures of both tests have shown (
r
= -0.65,
r
= -0.59,
r
= -0.68, and
r
= -0.57,
p
s
<0.01) in
M
1
, M
2
, M
3
and M
4
respectively. Therefore, the speed improvements gained in the other groups would
be determined primarily by the effect of NM ES and not by PT training.
On the other hand, isolated NM ES training has offered clear benefits, as concluded by Billot et al.
(
2010
), who after five weeks of NM ES training obtained not only improvements in vertical jump and
speed, but also in ball skills in soccer players. Furthermore, although the benefits of exclusive NM ES
training need a minimum intensity threshold of at least 8 sessions to induce strength development
(Miller & Thepautmathieu,
1993
), through the use of combined training the present study has obtained
significant increases in strength and speed from the first 4 and 8 training sessions, respectively.
As deduced from our results, the combined NM ES and PT training has been an important benefit in the
athletes’ strength and speed, confirming that the order of implementation is crucial in terms of the ability
to be developed (Figure
5
). Some answers about the causes for the above results could be found in
previous studies that have used NM ES in combination with VT. For example, at a therapeutic level
hybrid training (NM ES + VT) has been proved to be the most effective for maintaining and increasing
the muscle volume and extensor strength in different body limbs in both elderly (Takano et al.,
2010
)
and bedridden patients or astronauts in outer space (Martínez-López et al.,
2009
). In addition, more
muscle adaptations were made in athletes, since NM ES + VT can facilitate the training accumulative
effects and causes an improvement in the performance of complex dynamic movements (Paillard,
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
2008
). However, the main aspects related to the differences in performance of the jump and speed
tests in this study could be related to the effects produced by fatigue and motor control.
Thus, pre-training fatigue (NM ES + PT) allowed to overload and localize muscle training so that the
effect was more focused on the muscle power which was necessary in the jump, where the technical
role was relegated to the purely muscular role, the latter being more suitable for beginners (Cometti,
2002
). However, if NM ES is combined with VT or PT training (post-fatigue), it will not increase the
recruitment of motor units (Paillard et al.,
2005
) but will not damage the postural control either, creating
a positive change in the contribution of proprioceptive information (Paillard,
2008
) and thereby
achieving significant improvements in speed. Finally, the monitoring of the athletes during the
implementation showed that the Simultaneous group focused more on getting the coordination required
to perform successful plyometric jumps during the current application than on jump height itself. In this
sense, the results were consistent, since jump height did not vary but excellent speed times were found
due to an increase in the coordination between agonist and antagonist muscles, thus facilitating the
learning of specific coordination of the complex movements in the race.
The present results must be treated with caution, because although a sample higher than usual was
used to avoid conflicting results (Markovic et al.,
2007
), many factors that can strongly influence the
effects of the intervention still coexist. For example, derivatives of the training design (type of exercise,
volume and intensity of training, weekly frequency, training time and daily rest), characteristics of the
participants (gender, age, years of training), psychological factors (motivation for training, suffering
capacity or effort) and qualitative aspects related to the execution techniques. Also, the performance
evolution after the interruption of the treatment is not known, for a period of two weeks would be
needed to complete the assessment.
In conclusion, combined NM ES and PT training has shown different effects depending on the physical
type or requirements demanded in each athletic event. Its application in a single session can provide
both positive and negative effects. NM ES training can be used to supplement PT training, since it
notably increases vertical jumping ability as well as the athlete’s speed. However, its usefulness is
determined by the order of application during the training session.
The improvement in vertical jump test requires the use of NM ES prior to PT. Failure to do so, the
application of NM ES would be contraindicated because there would be fewer benefits than those
caused by a unique PT training. On the other hand, the improvement in the 30-meter sprint launched
test requires to perform combined NM ES and PT training simultaneously or applying NM ES after PT
training. Furthermore, if the aim is to achieve improvements in both vertical jump tests and speed tests,
the order of application of NM ES and PT is irrelevant, although the simultaneous method is not
advised.
Finally, with regard to the time required to achieve improvements in these tests with combined NM ES
and PT training, it should be substantially lower in the jump test than in the sprint test.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would like to express our gratitude to Spanish translator and interpreter Andrea Pérez-Arduña for
the translation into English and style correction of the present paper.
Benito-Martínez et al. / Combined electrostimulation & plyometric training
JOURNAL OF HUMAN SPORT & EXERCISE
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