Plyometrics are commonly used by athletes to improve power and explosiveness, but what about sprint training. A 2007 study conducted at the University of Zagreb (Croatia) monitored 93 men as they look part in a 10 week training program comparing the effects of plyometrics and sprinting. The men were split into three groups, plyometric group, sprint group and a control group. All groups were tested in various drills to measure athletic explosiveness before and after the 10 week training program. The plyo group performed hurdle jumps and drop jumps, while the sprint group performed sprints ranging from 10-50 meters. Both groups trained three times a week.
At the end of the 10 week program it was concluded that both the plyo group and the sprint group far surpassed the control group in final testing for explosive performance. It was also concluded that the sprint group produced similar, and in some tests, greater results in explosive athletic performance than the plyo group.
So, what does this really mean? It means that adding sprint training into your pre-competition training is not only a great way to improve your Vo2 Max, but it’s also a great way to improve explosiveness. It will also let you add some variety to your training and give you a good reason to get outside. Just remember that whenever possible sprinting should be done on a track or in the grass (save those knees).