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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 August;61(8):1091-7

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12719-7


language: English

Differences in physical performance between Olympic and non-Olympic female rugby sevens players

Irineu LOTURCO 1, 2, 3 , Lucas A. PEREIRA 1, 2, Ademir F. ARRUDA 4, Valter P. REIS 1, Julien ROBINEAU 5, Anthony COUDERC 5, Aristide GUERRIERO 4, Tomás T. FREITAS 1, 6, 7

1 Nucleus of High Performance in Sport (NAR), São Paulo, Brazil; 2 Department of Human Movement Science, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; 3 University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK; 4 Brazilian Rugby Confederation (CBRu), São Paulo, Brazil; 5 Research and Performance Department, French Federation of Rugby, Paris, France; 6 UCAM Research Center for High Performance Sport, Catholic University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain; 7 Faculty of Sport Sciences, Catholic University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain

BACKGROUND: This study compared the physical performance of National female rugby sevens players selected or not selected to form the Brazilian National Olympic team.
METHODS: Thirty women rugby sevens players from the Brazilian National team (15 Olympic and 15 non-Olympic athletes) participated in this study. Tests were performed on consecutive days, in the following order: day 1) standing long jump (SLJ); squat and countermovement jumps (SJ and CMJ); and one-repetition maximum test in the bench-press, prone-row, and parallel squat exercises; day 2) 40-m linear sprint; Pro-agility and L-drill change of direction tests; and Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (IR1). The differences between groups in all variables examined were analyzed using the independent t test and effect sizes (ES).
RESULTS: Greater jump performances were noticed for the Olympic players in all jump tests compared to the non-Olympics (ES=0.95, ES=1.05, and ES=0.93, for SLJ, SJ, and CMJ, respectively; P<0.05). Olympics revealed shorter sprint times than non-Olympics in 40-m distance (ES=0.88; P<0.05). Higher one-repetition maximum in the bench-press and Yo-Yo IR1 distance were also observed for the Olympics in comparison to non-Olympic players (ES=0.65 and 0.93, respectively; P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Lower-body power, upper-body strength, maximal sprint velocity and aerobic fitness were found to be important for distinguishing between Olympic and non-Olympic female rugby sevens players. Coaches and practitioners should prioritize the development of these physical qualities in these team-sport athletes.

KEY WORDS: Athletic performance; Team sports; Exercise tests; Resistance training

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