Hernández, J., & Salazar-Rojas, W. (2004). The effect of three lower-body training programs: A verification of the specificity principle. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 2395.

This study examined the global and specific effects of a 14-week training program on strength, power, and speed. Physically-active young males (N = 56.) were assigned to three treatment groups: squat group, plyometric group, and speed group. All participants performed the following tests: (i) strength (1 RM deep squat); (ii) power (counter-movement vertical jump and long jump), and (iii) running speed (30-m standing start and 30-m running start). Each group trained for one hour, two days per week for 14 weeks. The squat group (N = 21) exercised performing sets of squat at 60% of a 1 RM; the plyometric group (N = 15) executed plyometric jump sets; and the speed group (N = 20) performed running sets of distances from 25-100 m. All groups were retested at the completion of the training period.

Performance in all groups improved significantly from pre to post-test in the 1 RM deep squat, the 30 m-standing start, and the long jump tests. The squat group and the plyometric group improved performance in the counter-movement vertical jump test. Only the speed group improved significantly in the 30-m with a running start test.

Implication. The specificity of training principle was partly supported in this study. Training produced specific effects and generalized effects. It is possible that the nature of the sample caused these mixed results. When individuals are not highly trained, a training stimulus often transfers to non-trained activities that use similar capacities to that which is trained. It is only when an individual surpasses a certain level of training and fitness that physical exercise becomes particularly specific.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.