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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Jan 20

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.11235-6


language: English

Aerobic fitness and isokinetic knee strength of semi-professional rugby union players: a comparison between backs and forwards

Thierry BABA 1 , Micheál JOYCE 1, Simon BOIBLUCHE 2, Xiaopan HU 4, David McGRATH 1, Romain DUBOIS 3, Guillaume NICOLAS 4, Jacques PRIOUX 4

1 Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland; 2 Department of Strength and Conditioning, Rugby club de Vannes, Vannes, France; 3 Laboratory of Physical Activity, Performance and Health, University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour, Tarbes, France; 4 Department of Sport Science and Physical Education, École normale supérieure de Rennes, Rennes, France


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to (a) describe the physical fitness characteristics of semiprofessional rugby union (RU) players using VO2max (ml. min-1. kg-1), knee peak torque (PT), mean power (MP), hamstring: quadriceps (H:Q) ratio and basic anthropometrics characteristics. (b) compare backs and forwards across these same characteristics.
METHODS: VO2max and ventilatory threshold (VT) as a percentage of VO2max were measured using the Bruce protocol maximal graded test. Knee strength test PT, MP and H:Q were analyzed using the isokinetic dynamometer test. Basic anthropometrics measures were obtained by measures of body mass, height (from tanita body composition Analysis). While fat mass was measured using skinfold thicknesses taking from different body parts. 25 semi-professional players aged (26.3 ± 0.9 years) from the same team were recruited for the study. Mean experimental values from maximal graded test and isokinetic dynamometer test were analysed using t tests from the SigmaStat 3.11 program.
RESULTS: The results showed that forwards were significant taller (p=0.036), heavier (p=0.01), with greater fat mass (p=0.001) than backs. Backs had a greater VO2max (p=0.02) than forwards. With forwards having a greater (p=0.01) eccentric H PT.
CONCLUSIONS: This study presents important information for players and athletic coordinators as to the differences between backs and forwards across physiological and strength measures. This information can greatly inform the individualised training protocol and preparation of current and future players across different positions and different levels.

KEY WORDS: Rugby union; VO2max; Ventilatory threshold; Peak Torque; Hamstrings; Quadriceps ratio

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