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Medicina dello Sport 2013 September;66(3):307-13


language: English, Italian

Physiological and metabolic evaluation in the study of a functional model of rugby

Guerra E. 1, Quaranta F. 1, Sperandii F. 1, Borrione P. 1, Ciminelli E. 1, Calò L. 1, 2, Pigozzi F. 1, 2

1 Department of Motor Sciences, “Foro Italico” University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 2 Villa Stuart Sport Clinic –FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Rome, Italy


Aim: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the main physiological cardiac and neuromotory parameters of a team of rugby players of C series of Italian championship to assess the main determinants of performance.
Methods: Twenty players were studied through complete medical examination and functional evaluation including electrocardiogram (ECG), maximal cardiopulmonary incremental step test at cycloergometer (VO2peak), strength isometric test (leg extension, leg curl).
Results: Mean age was 28,16±5,5 years, height 180±6 cm, weight 98±14,5 kg. Medical examination did not show pathological signs. ECG resulted normal in 18 out of 20 subjects. The prevalence of ECG abnormalities was: flat or low amplitude of T wave 0.05%. Premature ectopic ventricular beats at rest 0.05%, premature ectopic ventricular beats during stress 20%. Not eligible athletes: 0%. Players were grouped according to their rules in group A: forwards (1st and 2nd lines: 11 players; mean age 26.3±5.4 years, height 180.6±5.3 cm, weight 107.6±12.5 kg) and B: Backswards (3rd lines, medians, wings, centers and outsiders: 9 players, mean age 30.1±4.4 years, height 179±6.2 cm, weight 86.3±7 kg). Cardiopulmonary test: VO2peak group A 37.23±4.8 mL∙kg-1∙min-1, VO2peak group B 42.12±4.52 mL∙kg-1∙min-1 (P=0.03); strength tests Group A L-ext 870±321 Newton (N), L-curl 390±54 N, strenght group B L-ext 744±143 N, L-curl 355±56 N. Group B shows a higher VO2peak/kg and a better weight/Power ratio respect to group A, because of the extra work for the aerobic metabolism and frequent high intensity “stop and go” during training and match. There were no different values as regards the force between the two groups.
Conclusion: The “Backs” have better weight/aerobic power ratio but also “Forwards” have high Aerobic Power. The values of muscular fitness showed no significant differences. The aerobic training arises as one of the main determinants for both the possibility to travel large distances that for fast recovery in repeated high intensity workouts for both backs and forward players.

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