A comparison of repeated sprint and effort tasks in rugby union players

Gallagher-Marsh, Kathryn (2015) A comparison of repeated sprint and effort tasks in rugby union players. Masters thesis, St Mary's University.

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Traditional running-based tests of rugby match fitness have been criticised as not reflecting the contact and collision demands of match-play activity. This study aimed to investigate how a 30 metre repeated-sprint ability (RSA) test compares with two new repeated-effort ability (REA) tests comprising a 10 metre sprint plus either a simulated tackle (REA1) or a down-up (REA2). There were 12 repetitions per test, each on a cycle of 4 seconds work to 16 seconds rest. Sixteen rugby union players performed each test at weekly intervals over three weeks. Performance times, decrement scores, peak heart rates (PHR) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded and reliabilities for tests and measures were calculated. The RSA test proved more functionally and physiologically exacting (slower times and higher decrement and PHR values), and also more reliable, than the REA tests. Data from comparisons between REA tests were less consistent. Slower times and greater decrement scores indicate that the REA1 test is more taxing than the REA2 test, but the REA2 task evoked higher PHRs. However, relative to the RSA test, both REA tests have similar effects. Moreover, RSA was unrelated to REA1 and only modestly related to REA2. These findings suggest that RSA is a distinct physical quality from REA and that the two REA tests are assessing similar physical qualities. However, the REA1 test is more rugby-specific, while the REA2 test is more reliable and cost-efficient. No test distinguished between player positions, with backs being faster than forwards on all tests and player positions not differing on other measures. Total time is more reliable than decrement indices for measuring performance, with there being no relationship between them, so that they must be regarded as assessing different aspects of performance. It is concluded that both RSA and REA tests have value in assessing rugby fitness and the choice of which will depend on the resources, needs and priorities of the coach.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: MSc Strength and Conditioning
Subjects: 600 Technology > 612 Human physiology
700 The arts; fine & decorative arts; recreation > 796 Athletic & outdoor sports & games
School/Department: School of Sport, Health and Applied Science
Depositing User: Jonathan Lucas
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2016 12:02
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2016 12:02
URI: http://research.stmarys.ac.uk/id/eprint/957


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