• stretch-shortening cycle;
  • mechanical efficiency;
  • muscle stiffness;
  • training;
  • female

Effects of power training with stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) exercises on mechanical efficiency (ME) were investigated with 9 young women who trained 3 times a week for 4 months. The training included various types of jumping exercises. Before and after the training as well as after the detraining (2 months) the subjects performed 6 different submaximal exercises with a special sledge apparatus. Each exercise involved 60 muscle actions lasting for a total of 3 min per testing condition. The work intensities were determined individually according to the recordings of distance obtained during the single maximal concentric exercises. The training caused the greatest changes of ME in conditions of higher prestretch intensities. The ME values changed from 49.3 ± 12.9% to 55.4 ± 12.1% in pure eccentric exercises and from 39.5 ± 4.6% to 46.1 ± 5.0% in SSC exercises during the training. After the training, the subjects preactivated their leg extensor muscles earlier before the impact, and the eccentric working phase was more powerful, because of higher tendomuscular stiffness. Higher preactivation of the measured muscles, higher flexion of knee and increased dorsiflexion of ankle joints in the beginning of contact caused the increased stiffness, possibly through more powerful reflex activation. At the same time the metabolic demands of muscles decreased, causing the increases of ME.