Applied physiology of rugby league

Gabbett, Tim, King, Trish and Jenkins, David (2008) Applied physiology of rugby league. Sports Medicine, 38 2: 119-138. doi:10.2165/00007256-200838020-00003

Author Gabbett, Tim
King, Trish
Jenkins, David
Title Applied physiology of rugby league
Journal name Sports Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0112-1642
Publication date 2008-02-01
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.2165/00007256-200838020-00003
Volume 38
Issue 2
Start page 119
End page 138
Total pages 20
Editor J. N. Shanahan
Place of publication Auckland, New Zealand
Publisher Adis International
Collection year 2009
Language eng
Subject C1
950102 Organised Sports
110602 Exercise Physiology
Abstract Rugby league football is played in several countries worldwide. A rugby league team consists of 13 players (6 forwards and 7 backs), with matches played over two 40-minute halves separated by a 10-minute rest interval. Several studies have documented the physiological capacities of rugby league players and the physiological demands of competition, with the physiological capacities of players and the physiological demands of competition increasing as the playing level is increased. However, there is also evidence to suggest that the physiological capacities of players may deteriorate as the season progresses, with reductions in muscular power and maximal aerobic power and increases in skinfold thickness occurring towards the end of the rugby league season, when training loads are lowest and match loads and injury rates are at their highest. Player fatigue and playing intensity have been suggested to contribute to injuries in rugby league, with a recent study reporting a significant correlation (r = 0.74) between match injury rates and playing intensity in semi-professional rugby league players. Studies have also reported a higher risk of injury in players with low 10-m and 40-m speed, while players with a low maximal aerobic power had a greater risk of sustaining a contact injury. Furthermore, players who completed <18 weeks of training prior to sustaining their initial injury were at greater risk of sustaining a subsequent injury. These findings provide some explanation for the high incidence of fatigue-related injuries in rugby league players and highlight the importance of speed and endurance training to reduce the incidence of injury in rugby league players. To date, most, but not all, studies have investigated the movement patterns and physiological demands of rugby league competition, with little emphasis on how training activities simulate the competition environment. An understanding of the movement patterns and physiological demands of specific individual positions during training and competition would allow the development of strength and conditioning programmes to meet the specific requirements of these positions. In addition, further research is required to provide information on the repeated effort demands of rugby league. A test that assesses repeated effort performance and employs distances, tackles and intensities specific to rugby league, while also simulating work-to-rest ratios similar to rugby league competition, is warranted.
Keyword Body composition
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Human Movement Studies Publications
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Created: Sun, 22 Mar 2009, 12:50:24 EST by Deborah Noon on behalf of School of Human Movement Studies