Applied Physiology of Rugby League
- 174 Downloads
Rugby League is a game of physical contact that involves low-intensity, aerobic exercise, combined with periods of intermittent, intensive anaerobic exercise. Matches consist of two halves, each of 40 minutes, separated by a 10-minute recovery period, and are contested by 2 teams of 13 players (6 forwards and 7 backs).
Whilst the amount of time spent by individual players on low-intensity exercise exceeds the duration of high-intensity exercise, the nature of the high-intensity efforts (involving sprinting, lower- and upper-body impacts and high force generation) is such that the overall intensity of the game is greatly increased. Individual players have been shown to cover distances of approximately 5000 to 8000m during a game, and be involved in 20 to 40 tackles. Maximum oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) values of around 56 ml/kg/min have been reported for rugby league players, with no differences between the values of forwards and backs.
Forwards have, however, been shown to generally have higher body mass, subcutaneous fat and fat-free mass levels than backs. Backs have been found to be quicker than forwards and produce greater leg power output when related to fat-free mass. The amount of physiological data on rugby league players and the sport of rugby league is very limited, and there is considerable scope for future research in this area.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Larder P. The rugby league coaching manual. 2nd rev. ed. London: Kings wood Press, 1992Google Scholar
- 2.Meir R, Arthur D, Forrest M. Time and motion analysis of professional rugby league: a case study. Strength Cond Coach 1993; 3(1): 24–29Google Scholar
- 3.Docherty D, Wenger HA, Neary P. Time-motion analysis related to the physiological demands of rugby. J Hum Mov Stud 1985; 11:49–52Google Scholar
- 4.Reilly T, Thomas V. A motion analysis of work rate in different positional roles in professional football match-play. J Hum Mov Stud 1976; 2: 87–97Google Scholar
- 5.Clarke A. A major analysis of rugby league football via questionnaire and video analysis [dissertation]. Leeds: University of Leeds, 1993Google Scholar
- 6.Meir RA, Davie AJ, Ohmsen P. Thermoregulatory responses of rugby league footballers playing in warm humid conditions. Sport Health 1990; 8(4): 11–14Google Scholar
- 7.Meir RA, Lowdon BJ, Davie AJ. The effect of jersey type on thermoregulatory responses during exercise in a warm humid environment. Aust J Sci Med Sport 1994; 26(1/2): 25–31Google Scholar
- 8.Cadigan N. Heat stroke. Rugby League Week 1994 Feb 16; 14Google Scholar
- 10.Allen GD. Physiological and metabolic changes with six weeks detraining. Aust J Sci Med Sport 1989; 21(1): 4–9Google Scholar
- 11.Brewer J, Davis J, Kear J. A comparison of the physiological characteristics of rugby league forwards and backs [abstract]. J Sports Sci 1994; 12(2): 158Google Scholar
- 12.Meir R. Evaluating players fitness in professional rugby league: reducing subjectivity. Strength Cond Coach 1993; 1(4): 11–17Google Scholar
- 13.Meir R. Seasonal changes in estimates of body composition in professional rugby league players. Sport Health 1993; 11(4): 27–31Google Scholar
- 14.Meir R. The big time. Rugby League Week 1994 May 4; 15Google Scholar
- 16.Doyle M, Reilly T. Investigation of plyometric training in rugby league players. In: Reilly T, Clarys J, Stibbe A, editors. Science and football: II. London: E & FN Spon 1993: 104–7Google Scholar
- 18.O’Connor D. Test of anaerobic glycolitic capacity and agility for rugby league and touch. Sports Coach 1992; 15(4): 8–12Google Scholar