Convergent Validity, Reliability, and Sensitivity of a Running Test to Monitor Neuromuscular Fatigue

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To investigate the convergent validity, reliability, and sensitivity over a week of training of a standardized running test to measure neuromuscular fatigue. Methods: Twenty male rugby union players were recruited for the study, which took place during preseason. The standardized running test consisted of four 60-m runs paced at  ~5 m·s−1 with 33 seconds of recovery between trials. Data from micromechanical electrical systems were used to calculate a running-load index (RLI), which was a ratio between the mechanical load and the speed performed during runs. RLI was calculated by using either the entire duration of the run or a constant-velocity period. For each type of calculation, either an individual directional or the sum of the 3 components of the accelerometer was used. A measure of leg stiffness was used to assess the convergent validity of the RLI. Results: Unclear to large relationships between leg stiffness and RLI were found (r ranged from −.20 to .62). Regarding reliability, small to moderate (.47–.86) standardized typical errors were found. The sensitivity analysis showed that the leg stiffness presented a very likely trivial change over the course of 1 week of training, whereas RLI showed very likely small to a most likely large change. Conclusions: This study showed that RLI is a practical method to measure neuromuscular fatigue. In addition, such a methodology aligns with the constraint of elite team-sport setup due to its ease of implementation in practice.

Leduc, Tee, Weakley, Ramirez, and Jones are with the Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) Centre, Inst for Sport, Physical Activity & Leisure, Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom. Cheradame is with the Research Dept, French Rugby Federation (FFR), Marcoussis, France. Ramirez and Jones are also with Yorkshire Carnegie Rugby Union Football Club, Leeds, United Kingdom. Jones is also with Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club, Leeds, United Kingdom; the England Performance Unit, Rugby Football League, Leeds, United Kingdom; the School of Science and Technology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia; and the Div of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Dept of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Sports Science Inst of South Africa, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Lacome is with the Performance Dept, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. Weakley is also with the School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Tee is also with the Dept of Sport Studies, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa.

Leduc (c.leduc@leedsbeckett.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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