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The Anthropometric and Physiological Characteristics of Elite Rugby Athletes

Brazier, J, Antrobus, M, Stebbings, G, Day, SH, Callus, P, Erskine, RM, Bennett, M, Kilduff, L and Williams, A The Anthropometric and Physiological Characteristics of Elite Rugby Athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. ISSN 1064-8011 (Accepted)

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Abstract

This is the first article to review the physical and physiological characteristics required for elite rugby performance within both Rugby Union (RU) and Rugby League (RL). Anthropometric characteristics such as height and mass, plus physiological characteristics such as speed and muscular strength, have previously been advocated as key discriminators of playing level within rugby. This review identifies key physical and physiological properties required for elite performance in rugby and attempts to explain why they are required. There are differences between competitive standards such that, at the elite level, athletes are heaviest (RU forwards ~108 kg, backs ~94 kg; RL forwards ~104 kg, backs ~95 kg) with lowest % body fat (RU forwards ~16%, backs ~14%; RL forwards ~14%, backs ~11%), they have most fat-free mass and are strongest (Back squat: RU forwards ~165 kg, backs ~145 kg; RL forwards ~188 kg, backs ~ 168 kg. Bench press: RU forwards ~125 kg, backs ~111 kg; RL forwards ~119 kg, backs ~113 kg) and fastest (10 m: RU forwards ~1.85 s, backs ~1.73 s; 10 m RL forwards ~1.72 s, backs ~1.66 s). We also have unpublished data that indicate contemporary RU athletes have less body fat and are stronger than the published data suggest. Regardless, well-developed speed, agility, lower-body power and strength characteristics are vital for elite performance, probably reflect both environmental (training, diet, etc.) and genetic factors, distinguish between competitive levels and are therefore important determinants of elite status in rugby.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1106 Human Movement And Sports Science
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2018 14:25
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2018 06:27
Editors: Comfort, P
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9006

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