Research Article: Short-term adaptations following Complex Training in team-sports: A meta-analysis

Date Published: June 29, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Tomás T. Freitas, Alejandro Martinez-Rodriguez, Julio Calleja-González, Pedro E. Alcaraz, Jaime Sampaio.


The purpose of this meta-analysis was to study the short-term adaptations on sprint and vertical jump (VJ) performance following Complex Training (CT) in team-sports. CT is a resistance training method aimed at developing both strength and power, which has a direct effect on sprint and VJ. It consists on alternating heavy resistance training exercises with plyometric/power ones, set for set, on the same workout.

A search of electronic databases up to July 2016 (PubMed-MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, Web of Knowledge) was conducted. Inclusion criteria: 1) at least one CT intervention group; 2) training protocols ≥4-wks; 3) sample of team-sport players; 4) sprint or VJ as an outcome variable. Effect sizes (ES) of each intervention were calculated and subgroup analyses were performed.

A total of 9 studies (13 CT groups) met the inclusion criteria. Medium effect sizes (ES) (ES = 0.73) were obtained for pre-post improvements in sprint, and small (ES = 0.41) in VJ, following CT. Experimental-groups presented better post-intervention sprint (ES = 1.01) and VJ (ES = 0.63) performance than control-groups.

large ESs were exhibited in younger athletes (<20 years old; ES = 1.13); longer CT interventions (≥6 weeks; ES = 0.95); conditioning activities with intensities ≤85% 1RM (ES = 0.96) and protocols with frequencies of <3 sessions/week (ES = 0.84). Medium ESs were obtained in Division I players (ES = 0.76); training programs >12 total sessions (ES = 0.74).

Large ESs in programs with >12 total sessions (ES = 0.81). Medium ESs obtained for under-Division I individuals (ES = 0.56); protocols with intracomplex rest intervals ≥2 min (ES = 0.55); conditioning activities with intensities ≤85% 1RM (ES = 0.64); basketball/volleyball players (ES = 0.55). Small ESs were found for younger athletes (ES = 0.42); interventions ≥6 weeks (ES = 0.45).

CT interventions have positive medium effects on sprint performance and small effects on VJ in team-sport athletes. This training method is a suitable option to include in the season planning.

Partial Text

In team-sports, the capacity to maximize neuromuscular power production is fundamental to success and critical to achieve high levels of performance and greater velocities in sport specific movements [1]. The improvement of high intensity, explosive actions such as sprint or vertical jump (VJ) is an important goal for coaches and athletes [2, 3]. In fact, Faude et al. [4] concluded that straight sprints are the most important action when scoring or assisting a goal in elite football. For the purpose of this meta-analysis, it is important to state that in most team-sports the distances covered in sprint efforts are usually short [5–7] and consist primarily on accelerations and decelerations without developing full speed [8].

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first meta-analysis focusing on the short-term adaptations on sprint and VJ performance following CT in team-sports. The main findings indicated that this type of training lead to positive medium effects on sprint performance, over distances between 15 and 30 m. Regarding VJ height, small but positive effects were also found. Our results support the idea that CT, consisting on heavy resistance exercises coupled with plyometric/explosive exercises, set for set, on the same session, contributes to enhanced sprint and VJ performance [18–20]. The training variables that seem to most influence this positive response to CT in team-sports are the duration of intervention (≥6 weeks), the CA intensity (<85% 1RM) and the ICRI (≥2 min). CT is a training method aimed at developing both strength and power, which has a direct effect on sprint and VJ performance. When outlining the season planning for team-sports, strength and conditioning professionals should take into consideration that this may be a suitable method as it produces medium training effects on sprint performance and small positive effects on VJ.   Source:


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