This study analyzed the effects of two different eccentric overload training (EOT) programs, using a rotational conical-pulley, on functional performance in team-sports players. A traditional movement paradigm (i.e., squat) including several sets of one bilateral and vertical movement was compared to a novel paradigm including a different exercise in each set of unilateral and multidirectional movements.
Forty-eight amateur/semiprofessional team-sport players were randomly assigned to an EOT program including either the same bilateral-vertical (CBV, n=24) movement (squat) or different unilateral-multidirectional (VUMD, n=24) movements. Training programs consisted of 6 sets of 1 exercise (CBV) or 1 set of 6 exercises (VUMD) x 6-10 repetitions with 3-min of passive recovery between sets and exercises, biweekly for 8-weeks. Functional performance assessment included several change of direction (COD) tests, a 25-m linear sprint test, unilateral multidirectional jumping tests (i.e., lateral, horizontal and vertical) and a bilateral vertical jump test.
Within-group analysis showed substantial improvements in all tests in both groups with VUMD showing more robust adaptations in pooled COD tests and lateral/horizontal jumping whereas the opposite occurred in CBV respecting linear sprinting and vertical jumping. Between-group analyses showed substantial better results in lateral jumps (ES=0.21), left leg horizontal jump (ES=0.35) and 10-m COD with right leg (ES=0.42) in VUMD than in CBV. In contrast, left leg countermovement jump (ES=0.26) was possibly better in CBV than in VUMD.
Eight-weeks of EOT induced substantial improvements in functional performance tests, although the force vector application may play a key role to develop different and specific functional adaptations.