Quantifying Neuromuscular Fatigue Induced by an Intense Training Session in Rugby Sevens

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Bruno Marrier
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Yann Le Meur
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Julien Robineau
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Mathieu Lacome
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Anthony Couderc
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Christophe Hausswirth
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Julien Piscione
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Jean-Benoît Morin
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Purpose:

To compare the sensitivity of a sprint vs a countermovement-jump (CMJ) test after an intense training session in international rugby sevens players, as well as analyze the effects of fatigue on sprint acceleration.

Methods:

Thirteen international rugby sevens players completed two 30-m sprints and a set of 4 repetitions of CMJ before and after a highly demanding rugby sevens training session.

Results:

Change in CMJ height was unclear (–3.6%; ±90% confidence limits 11.9%. Chances of a true positive/trivial/negative change: 24/10/66%), while a very likely small increase in 30-m sprint time was observed (1.0%; ±0.7%, 96/3/1%). A very likely small decrease in the maximum horizontal theoretical velocity (V0) (–2.4; ±1.8%, 1/4/95%) was observed. A very large correlation (r = –.79 ± .23) between the variations of V0 and 30-m-sprint performance was also observed. Changes in 30-m sprint time were negatively and very largely correlated with the distance covered above the maximal aerobic speed (r = –.71 ± .32).

Conclusions:

The CMJ test appears to be less sensitive than the sprint test, which casts doubts on the usefulness of a vertical-jump test in sports such as rugby that mainly involve horizontal motions. The decline in sprint performance relates more to a decrease in velocity than in force capability and is correlated with the distance covered at high intensity.

Marrier, Le Meur, and Hausswirth are with the Laboratory of Sport, Expertise and Performance, National Inst of Sport, Expertise and Performance, Paris, France. Robineau, Lacome, Couderc, and Piscione are with the Research Dept, French Rugby Federation, Marcoussis, France. Morin is with the University Côte d’Azur, LAMHESS, Nice, France.

Address author correspondence to Jean-Benoît Morin at jean-benoit.morin@unice.fr.
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