Effects of a short-term pre-season training programme on the body composition and anaerobic performance of professional rugby union players

Christos K Argus, Nicholas Gill, Justin Keogh, Will G Hopkins, C Martyn Beaven

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Pre-season rugby training develops the physical requisites for competition and consists of a high volume of resistance training and anaerobic and aerobic conditioning. However, the effects of a rugby union pre-season in professional athletes are currently unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of a 4-week pre-season on 33 professional rugby union players. Bench press and box squat increased moderately (13.6 kg, 90% confidence limits +/-2.9 kg and 17.6 +/- 8.0 kg, respectively) over the training phase. Small decreases in bench throw (70.6 +/- 53.5 W), jump squat (280.1 +/- 232.4 W), and fat mass (1.4 +/- 0.4 kg) were observed. In addition, small increases were seen in fat-free mass (2.0 +/- 0.6 kg) and flexed upper-arm girth (0.6 +/- 0.2 cm), while moderate increases were observed in mid-thigh girth (1.9 +/- 0.5 cm) and perception of fatigue (0.6 +/- 0.4 units). Increases in strength and body composition were observed in elite rugby union players after 4 weeks of intensive pre-season training, but this may have been the result of a return to fitness levels prior to the off-season. Decreases in power may reflect high training volumes and increases in perceived of fatigue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-86
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


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