Plyometric Training: Effectiveness and Optimal Duration for Children With Unilateral Cerebral Palsy

The aim of this study was to evaluate the ideal duration and effects of plyometric training on the gross motor abilities of 3 boys with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy (9 years 11 months, 10 years, and 8 years 9 months). This was a multiple-baseline, multiple-probe, single-subject experiment. The intervention followed the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s guidelines for youth. The Gross Motor Function Measure 66, 10×5-m sprint, 20-m run, throw ball, broad jump, and vertical jump tests were used to evaluate gross motor abilities, agility, running speed, and power. Improvements were seen in upper extremity power, Gross Motor Function Measure 66 scores, and agility. Findings for lower extremity power and running speed lacked consistency. Training duration ranged from 8 to 14 weeks.

This study indicates that plyometric training improves gross motor ability, agility, and upper extremity power in boys with unilateral cerebral palsy. Duration of treatment should be determined by an individual’s capacity, the task, and the outcome measure.