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Nick Dobbin, Jamie Highton, Samantha L. Moss and Craig Twist

Purpose: To determine the utility of running-only and rugby-specific, in-season sprint interval interventions in professional rugby league players. Methods: Thirty-one professional academy rugby players were assigned to a rugby-specific (SITr/s, n = 16) or running-only (SITr, n = 15) sprint interval training group. Measures of speed, power, change of direction ability, prone Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (Yo-Yo IR1) performance, and heart rate recovery were taken before and after the 2-week intervention as were submaximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Internal, external, and perceptual responses were collected during SITr/s and SITr, with well-being and neuromuscular function assessed before each session. Results: Despite contrasting (possible to most likely) internal, external, and perceptual responses to the SIT interventions, possible to most likely within-group improvements in physical characteristics, heart rate recovery, and submaximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1 were observed after both interventions. Between-group analysis favored the SITr/s intervention (trivial to moderate) for changes in 10-m sprint time, countermovement jump, change of direction, and medicine ball throw as well as submaximal (280–440 m) high metabolic power, PlayerLoad, and acceleration distance during the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Overall changes in well-being or neuromuscular function were unclear. Conclusions: Two weeks of SITr/s and SITr were effective for improving physical characteristics, heart rate recovery, and submaximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1, with no clear change in well-being and neuromuscular function. Between-group analysis favored the SITr/s group, suggesting that the inclusion of sport-specific actions should be considered for in-season conditioning of rugby league players.

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Benjamin G. Serpell, Joshua Strahorn, Carmen Colomer, Andrew McKune, Christian Cook and Kate Pumpa

training session on “day 1”; on “day 2,” players completed a field-based rugby training session known as “captain’s run.” Captain’s run was the final training session for the week and is considered a “light” session where players get to practice their plays one last time. In week 2, participants underwent

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Timothy B. Hartwig, Geraldine Naughton and John Searl

Purpose:

Investigating adolescent training loads might help us understand optimal training adaptations. GPS tracking devices and training diaries were used to quantify weekly sport and other physical activity demands placed on adolescent rugby union players and profile typical rugby training sessions.

Methods:

Participants were 75 males age 14 to 18 y who were recruited from rugby teams representing 3 levels of participation: schoolboy, national representative, and a selective sports school talent squad.

Results:

Schoolboy players covered a distance of (mean ± SD) 3511 ± 836 m, representative-squad players 3576 ± 956 m, and talent-squad players 2208 ± 637 m per rugby training session. The representative squad recorded the highest weekly duration of sport and physical activity (515 ± 222 min/wk), followed by the talent squad (421 ± 211 min/week) and schoolboy group (370 ± 135 min/wk). Profiles of individual players identified as group outliers showed participation in up to 3 games and up to 11 training sessions per week, with twice the weekly load of the team averages.

Conclusion:

Optimal participation and performance of adolescent rugby union players might be compromised by many high-load, high-impact training sessions and games and commitments to other sports and physical activities. An improved understanding of monitoring and quantifying load in adolescent athletes is needed to facilitate best-practice advice for player management and training prescription.

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Luis Suarez-Arrones, Julio Tous-Fajardo, Javier Núñez, Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Javier Gálvez and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To examine the effect of repeated-sprint training (RST) vs combined RST and resistance training with superimposed vibrations on repeated-sprint ability (RSA) and lower-body power output in male rugby players.

Methods:

Players were divided into 2 training groups. One group performed RST (n = 10) 2 d/wk and the other performed RST 1 d/wk and squat resistance training with superimposed vibrations on the second day (RS+ST; n = 10). The squat training was carried out with a volume similar (ie, number of sets and repetitions) to that of the RST. The training period lasted 6 wk, and it was carried out as a supplement to the regular rugby training sessions.

Results:

Substantial improvements in RSA mean time (RSAmean; +2.3%/ES: 0.77 vs +4.1%/ES: 0.91), RSA percent decrement (%Dec; –25.6%/ES: 1.70 vs –23.2%/ES: 0.99), and squat absolute power output (+5.0%/ES:0.36 vs +17.2%/ES: 0.93) were obtained in RST and RS+ST, respectively. Substantial improvements in RSA best time (RSAbest; +2.6%/ES: 0.61) and squat power output normalized to body mass (+18.6%/ES: 0.76) only occurred in RS+ST. Both pretest and posttest RSAmean were largely correlated with the RSAbest. However, there were only unclear, small to moderate correlations between individual changes in squat power output and either RSAmean or RSAbest.

Conclusion:

Combined RST and resistance training induced improvements of greater magnitude in both repeated-sprint performance and muscle power output than the RST alone. The lack of substantial correlations between individual changes in repeated-sprint and muscle-power performance suggests that the same subjects were not systematically low or high responders to both RST and strength training.

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Katherine Elizabeth Black, Jody Huxford, Tracy Perry and Rachel Clare Brown

Blood sodium concentration of tetraplegics during exercise has not been investigated. This study aimed to measure blood sodium changes in relation to fluid intakes and thermal comfort in tetraplegics during wheelchair rugby training. Twelve international male wheelchair rugby players volunteered, and measures were taken during 2 training sessions. Body mass, blood sodium concentration, and subjective thermal comfort using a 10-point scale were recorded before and after both training sessions. Fluid intake and the distance covered were measured during both sessions. The mean (SD) percentage changes in body mass during the morning and afternoon training sessions were +0.4%1 (0.65%) and +0.69% (1.24%), respectively. There was a tendency for fluid intake rate to be correlated with the percentage change in blood sodium concentration (p = .072, r 2 = .642) during the morning training session; this correlation reached significance during the afternoon session (p = .004, r 2 = .717). Fluid intake was significantly correlated to change in thermal comfort in the morning session (p = .018, r 2 = .533), with this correlation showing a tendency in the afternoon session (p = .066, r 2 = .151). This is the first study to investigate blood sodium concentrations in a group of tetraplegics. Over the day, blood sodium concentrations significantly declined; 2 players recorded blood sodium concentrations of 135 mmol/L, and 5 recorded blood sodium concentrations of 136 mmol/L. Excessive fluid intake as a means of attenuating thermal discomfort seems to be the primary cause of low blood sodium concentrations in tetraplegic athletes. Findings from this study could aid in the design of fluid-intake strategies for tetraplegics.

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Benjamin G. Serpell, Barry G. Horgan, Carmen M.E. Colomer, Byron Field, Shona L. Halson and Christian J. Cook

Precamp Camp Postcamp 2 d 1 d Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4  1 d  2 d Morning Position group skills (50 min, RPE 8) Lower-body weights (60 min, RPE 6) Speed training (30 min, RPE 4) Educational session Team rugby training session (40 min, RPE 7, 3603 m, 13 accelerations >2.5 m/s/s, 7.6% HSR) Lower-body weights

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Patrick G. Campbell, Jonathan M. Peake and Geoffrey M. Minett

opportunities to enhance performance outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine the position-specific physiological, perceptual, and skill demand requirements of preprofessional rugby players in matches and training sessions. The specificity of current on-field rugby training sessions was then compared with

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Francisco Tavares, Martyn Beaven, Júlia Teles, Dane Baker, Phil Healey, Tiaki B. Smith and Matthew Driller

At the elite level, rugby training often occurs 2 or more times daily over 2 or more consecutive days during a week. 1 , 2 An imbalance between training stress and recovery can lead to an excessive level of accumulated fatigue over the training week 1 and undesirable chronic fatigue over a

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Jeffrey R. Doeringer, Megan Colas, Corey Peacock and Dustin R. Gatens

, et al . The effects of cold water immersion after rugby training on muscle power and biochemical markers . J Sports Sci Med . 2014 ; 13 : 616 – 623 . PubMed 25177190 14. Bijur P , Silver W , Gallagher J . Reliability of the visual analog scale for measurement of acute pain . Acad Emerg

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Jonathan P. Norris, Jamie Highton and Craig Twist

sessions in addition to rugby training that results in greater aerobic capacity and sprint performance compared with nonelite players. 28 Therefore, it is to be expected that professional players would exhibit lower physiological and perceptual responses to similar external demands compared with amateur