Longitudinal Changes in Muscle Architecture, Reactive Strength, and Explosive Ability in Collegiate Volleyball Players throughout a Competitive Season.

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PURPOSE: To examine changes in muscle architecture, reactive strength, and explosive ability in collegiate volleyball players throughout a competitive season. METHODS: Ten female volleyball players (20.4 ± 1.1 y, 178.3 ± 4.8 cm, 72.6 ± 5.3 kg) were recruited for the study. Athletes were tested at pre-season (T1), pre-taper (T2), and post-taper (T3) on measures of vastus lateralis muscle thickness (MT), pennation angle (PA), and fascicle length (FL) using ultrasonography, countermovement jump reactive strength index modified (RSImod), and peak power allometrically scaled (PPa). Training load (TL: session RPEduration) and strength training volume-load times displacement (VLd) were monitored for 15 wks. One-way repeated measures ANOVAs were used for analysis with alpha level set at p≤0.05. RESULTS: There was a reduction in VLd/wk (p<0.001, d=3.1) and TL/wk (p<0.001, d=2.7) between in-season (T1-T2) and tapering (T2-T3) training phases. There were time effects for MT (p<0.001) and PA (p=0.03). Post-hoc pairwise comparisons revealed changes in MT (increase T1-T2: p<0.001, d=2.8 and T1-T3: p<0.001, d=1.7; decrease T2-T3: p=0.01, d=0.6), PA (increase T1-T2: p=0.02, d=3.9), and no changes in FL or PPa. Despite no time effect, RSImod showed an increasing trend from T2-T3: p=0.04, d=0.23. CONCLUSIONS: In-season training resulted in favorable changes in muscle architecture, which remained elevated above pre-season values following the taper. These changes coupled with the reductions in TL and VLd during the taper may be related to changes in stretch-shortening cycle function during a sport-specific task as inferred from the changes in RSImod


Greenville, SC

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