Castagna C1,2, Chaouachi A3, Rampinini E4, Chamari K3, Impellizzeri FM5

1, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy;2, Scuola Regionale dello Sport delle Marche, Italian Olympic Commitee (CONI), Ancona, Italy;3, Research Unit ’’Evaluation, Sport, Sante´,’’ National Center of Medicine and Science in Sports (CNMSS), Tunis, Tunisia;4, Human Performance Laboratory, S.S. MAPEI, Castellanza, Varese, Italy;5, Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland

The aim of this study was to examine the aerobic fitness and lower-limbs explosive-power abilities of Italian regional-level amateur basketball players. Participants were basketball players playing successfully at a senior (S, n = 11) and junior (J, n = 11) regional level. Players maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) was assessed with them wearing a portable gas analyzer (K4b, COSMED, Rome, Italy) during an exercise mode-specific multistage fitness test (yo-yo endurance test [Yo-Yo]). Knee extensors and plantar flexors explosive power was assessed with countermovement jump (CMJ) and stiff-leg jumps (SL), respectively. Jumps were performed using a switch mat connected to a computer (Muscle Lab, Bosco System, Rome, Italy). Jumps’ fly (FT) and contact times (CT) were used for jump performances calculations. Stiff-Leg FT versus CT ratio (SL/CT) was considered as representative of lower-leg explosive power, whereas SL/CMJ.100 was considered as sign of the explosive-power balance between lower and upper leg muscles. Players’ VO2max was 60.88 +/- 6.26 and 50.33 +/- 3.98 mL*kg-1*min-1 for J and S, respectively (p < 0.05). A significant difference was found in SL/CT between S and J players. Yo-Yo performance was not significantly different between groups (2,055 +/- 267 and 2,020 +/- 174 m for S and J, respectively, p > 0.05). Lower-leg explosive power showed to be positively related to distance covered during Yo-Yo. Study results showed that 50 mL*kg-1*min-1 is a sufficient VO2max value for competing at a regional level. Calf explosive power should be considered to improve sport-specific running performance in basketball using plyometrics and whole body lifts.

J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Oct;23(7):1982-7.