Does the initial level of horizontal force determine the magnitude of improvement in acceleration performance in rugby?

Juan Antonio Escobar Álvarez*, Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Filipe Almeida da Conceição, Juan Pedro Fuentes García

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This study aimed to observe the effect of 8 weeks of resisted sled training (RST), with optimal loading for maximal power output production and initial levels of force, on the magnitude of improvement in sprint performance and individual sprint mechanical outputs in female amateur rugby union players. The study examined the horizontal Power-Force-Velocity profile (P-F-V profile), which provides a measure of the athlete’s individual balance between force and velocity capabilities (Sfv), theoretical maximum force (F0), theoretical maximum velocity (V0), maximum power (Pmax), the maximum ratio of force (Rfmax) and rate of decrease in ratio of force (Drf). Thirty-one participants (age = 23.7 ± 3.3years, BM = 69 ± 9Kg, height = 167.5 ± 5.2 cm) were divided into a control group and two experimental groups; forwards (FG) and backs (BG). For 8 consecutive weeks (16 sessions), all groups performed the same training programme: 2 sets of 5 × 30 m, but athletes assigned to FG and BG ran towing a resisted sled attached to their waists, with optimal loading for maximal power output production. Both FG and BG significantly improved (p ≤ 0.05) in 5 and 20 m sprint performance, and in the mechanical properties related to the horizontal P-F-V profile. The correlation between the initial level of horizontal strength and the magnitude of improvement in Pmax also suggests that higher levels of horizontal force may lead to greater adaptations in RST. The P-F-V profile is a useful field method for identifying the weakest mechanical variable in rugby players during sprinting and enabling the prescription of individualized training programmes according to specific running performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-835
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Volume21
Issue number6
Early online date21 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • performance
  • acceleration
  • training
  • biomechanics

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