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.
The Effects of In-Season, Low-Volume Sprint Interval Training With and Without Sport-Specific Actions on the Physical Characteristics of Elite Academy Rugby League Players
Nick Dobbin, Jamie Highton, Samantha L. Moss, and Craig Twist
Total Testosterone and Cortisol During Wheelchair Rugby Training in Athletes With Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
Eduardo Stieler, Varley Teoldo da Costa, Aline Ângela Silva Cruz, João Paulo Pereira Rosa, Ingrid LudImilla Bastos Lôbo, Julia Romão, Andrea Maculano Esteves, Marco Tulio de Mello, and Andressa Silva
Context: Hormonal assessment in the sport context is important to monitor the physiological adaptations of athletes. However, Paralympic athletes, especially with cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI), may have different hormonal responses than nondisabled athletes. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the blood concentrations of total testosterone (TT) and cortisol (C) during acute (one training session) and chronic (1 and 2 month) training of athletes with CSCI in wheelchair rugby (WCR). Design: Longitudinal and observational study. Methods: Eight high-performance athletes with CSCI (31 [3.9] y; 75.6 [15.8] kg; 22.9 [4.2] kg/m2 body mass index; 6.2  y of experience in sport) were evaluated at 3 different intervals (evaluations 1, 2, and 3 [E1, E2, and E3]) over 2 months of training. TT and C blood were evaluated before (pre) and after (post) the training sessions at each training moment, as well as the training load through the ratings of perceived exertion. Results: Athletes with CSCI had low TT concentrations. In acute training sessions, at E3, C decreases after the training session, unlike the TT/C ratio, which increased after the session. Regarding hormonal changes during chronic training at the end of the training period, unlike C, which increased. The training load (arbitrary units) decreased in E3 when compared with the other evaluation moments. Conclusion: It was concluded that in chronic training, TT concentrations decreased, while C increased at the end of the 2 months of training. These results may indicate that training volume was high throughout training and that a reduction in training volume could benefit athletes. On the other hand, in the acute training session with reduced training load, a decrease in C was observed after the training session. This indicates that athletes may be well recovered in this training session. Therefore, we suggest acute and long-term hormonal assessment for athletes with CSCI as a strategy to monitor anabolic/catabolic hormonal status during WCR training.
Profiling Hormonal Contraceptive Use and Perceived Impact on Training and Performance in a Global Sample of Women Rugby Players
Natalie Brown, Olga Roldan-Reoyo, Genevieve K.R. Williams, Anna Stodter, Izzy S. Moore, Kelly A. Mackintosh, Melitta A. McNarry, and Elisabeth M.P. Williams
implications of HC use on rugby training and performance are lacking. Most sport-related studies in this domain focus on naturally menstruating individuals and perceived effects on training. Despite the high prevalence of HC use among athletes and reported negative side effects, existing research about their
The Effect of Speed, Power, and Strength Training and a Group Motivational Presentation on Physiological Markers of Athlete Readiness: A Case Study in Professional Rugby
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
Intensified Training Supersedes the Impact of Heat and/or Altitude for Increasing Performance in Elite Rugby Union Players
Sebastien Racinais, Julien D. Périard, Julien Piscione, Pitre C. Bourdon, Scott Cocking, Mohammed Ihsan, Mathieu Lacome, David Nichols, Nathan Townsend, Gavin Travers, Mathew G. Wilson, and Olivier Girard
Environmental conditions Repeated sprints Sea level Sea level Hypoxia Hypoxia — Endurance Temperate Hot Temperate Hot — Participants n 14 14 14 14 56 Age, y 18 (1) 18 (1) 19 (1) 19 (3) 19 (2) Height, cm 186 (10) 187 (7) 187 (6) 184 (7) 186 (7.7) Weight, kg 97 (26) 101 (15) 106 (15) 102 (17) 102 (19) Rugby
In-Season Resisted-Jump Training Enables Power, Agility, and Jump-Ability Maintenance in University-Level Male Rugby Players
Cobus Oosthuizen and Mark Kramer
from training transfer favorably to match play. 4 Within the context of rugby training, it is important to critically evaluate the relationship between strength and power where the effectiveness of training interventions aimed at the maintenance of performance during the in-season period, remain
Defining the Volume and Intensity of Sport Participation in Adolescent Rugby Union Players
Timothy B. Hartwig, Geraldine Naughton, and John Searl
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fluid and Sodium Balance of Elite Wheelchair Rugby Players
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.
Concurrent Repeated-Sprint and Resistance Training With Superimposed Vibrations in Rugby Players
Luis Suarez-Arrones, Julio Tous-Fajardo, Javier Núñez, Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Javier Gálvez, and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva
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.
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.
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.
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.
Preconditioning Activities to Enhance Repeated High-Intensity Efforts in Elite Rugby Union Players
Adrien Vachon, Nicolas Berryman, Iñigo Mujika, Jean-Baptiste Paquet, and Laurent Bosquet
Design All players followed the same 4-week training block period: 4 days of training and an official match per week. Twice a week, part of the training session was devoted to the intervention, with the goal to develop RHIE ability, using the HIIT Rugby training method. Based on the work by Vachon et