Low-Volume Squat Jump Training Improves Functional Performance Independent of Myofibre Changes in Inactive Young Male Individuals

An investigation into the histological changes in skeletal muscle fibres and jump performance indicators after 8 weeks of plyometric squat jump training was conducted. Healthy inactive participants (n = 13; age: 21.5 &plusmn; 1.7 year.; height: 173.6 &plusmn; 10.7 cm; weight: 68.5 &plusmn; 18.4 kg; BMI 22.4 &plusmn; 3.8 kg/m<sup>2</sup>) were recruited, where eight participants completed plyometric squat jump training and five control participants refrained from performing any jumping activities. Blood samples, vastus lateralis muscle biopsies and functional testing (peak and average power, peak and average velocity, maximal jump height) were collected/recorded 10 days prior to and 3 days after the training/rest period. Participants completed 1644 squat jumps over an 8-week training period of 24 sessions with a progressive increase in the number of squat jumps. The trained group significantly increased their jumping average and peak power (mean increases in average power: 16.7 &plusmn; 1.2% and peak power: 8.2% &plusmn; 0.1) and velocity (mean increases in average velocity: 13.7 &plusmn; 0.1% and peak velocity: 5.2% &plusmn; 0.03), resulting in a 25% improvement in vertical jump height. No muscle morphological changes in terms of the cross-sectional area (CSA) or muscle-fibre-type transition were observed after the plyometric training. Improvements in the functional performance indicators following training may more likely be explained by sarcomere ultrastructural adaptation, which did not directly affect myosin heavy chain or CSA.