Long-Term Changes in Jump Performance and Maximum Strength in a Cohort of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Women's Volleyball Athletes

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The purpose of this investigation was to quantify the magnitude of change in maximal strength and jumping abilities over approximately 1, 2, and 3 years of supervised sport and resistance training in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division I women's volleyball athletes. This was an exploratory study on a cohort of women's volleyball athletes (n = 29) split into 3 groups based on the length of the time spent in a supervised resistance training program: Group 1 (n = 11): 0.7 ± 0.3 years, group 2 (n = 9): 1.6 ± 0.2 years, and group 3 (n = 9): 2.4 ± 0.6 years. Monitoring tests consisted of standing height (cm), body mass (kg), body fat (%), static jump height (SJH) and countermovement JH (CMJH) with 0-, 11-, and 20-kg loads (cm), and midthigh clean pull isometric peak force (IPF) and allometrically scaled IPF (IPFa) (Nkg 20.67). Increasing trends were observed for all variables from groups 1 to 2 to 3. Statistically greater improvements (p ≤ 0.05) with moderate to large effect sizes were found between groups 1 and 3 for SJH 0 (19.7%, d = 1.35), SJH 11 (23.8%, d = 1.23), SJH 20 (30.6%, d = 1.20), CMJH 11 (22.6%, d = 1.18), IPF (44.4%, d = 1.22), and IPFa (41.2%, d = 1.32). A combination of traditional resistance training exercises and weightlifting variations at various loads, in addition to volleyball practice, seem to be effective at increasing maximal strength by 44% and vertical JH by 20-30% in NCAA division I women's volleyball athletes after about 2.5 years of training. Furthermore, these characteristics can be improved in the absence of additional plyometric training outside normal volleyball-specific practice.