• The concurrent validity of a rugby-specific Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (Level 1) for assessing match-related running performance

      Dobbin, Nick; Highton, Jamie M.; Moss, Samantha L.; Hunwicks, Richard; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; Rugby Football League, Leeds (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2018-06-01)
      This study investigated the concurrent validity of a rugby-specific high-intensity intermittent running test (HIIR) against the internal, external and perceptual responses to simulated match-play. Thirty-six rugby league players (age 18.5 ± 1.8 years; stature 181.4 ± 7.6 cm; body mass 83.5 ± 9.8 kg) completed the prone Yo-Yo IR1, of which sixteen also completed the Yo-Yo IR1, and 2 x ~20 min bouts of a simulated match-play (RLMSP-i). Most likely reductions in relative total, low-speed and high-speed distance, mean speed and time above 20 W·kg-1 (HMP) were observed between bouts of the RLMSP-i. Likewise, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and percentage of peak heart rate (%HRpeak) were very likely and likely higher during the second bout. Pearson’s correlations revealed a large relationship for the change in relative distance (r = 0.57-0.61) between bouts with both Yo-Yo IR1 tests. The prone Yo-Yo IR1 was more strongly related to the RLMSP-i for change in repeated sprint speed (r = 0.78 cf. 0.56), mean speed (r = 0.64 cf. 0.36), HMP (r = 0.48 cf. 0.25), fatigue index (r = 0.71 cf. 0.63), %HRpeak (r = -0.56 cf. -0.35), RPEbout1 (r = -0.44 cf. -0.14), and RPEbout2 (r = -0.68 cf. -0.41) than the Yo-Yo IR1, but not for blood lactate concentration (r = -0.20 to -0.28 cf. -0.35 to -0.49). The relationships between prone Yo-Yo IR1 distance and measure of load during the RLMSP-i suggests it possesses concurrent validity and is more strongly associated with measures of training or match load than the Yo-Yo IR1 using rugby league players.
    • Effects of a four-week touch rugby and self-paced interval running intervention on health markers in active young men.

      Dobbin, Nick; Bloyce, Daniel; Hughes, Stephen; Twist, Craig (Springer, 2020-03-29)
      Background: Modified team sport activity has been proposed as effective exercise modality for promoting markers of health that are comparable or greater than continuous forms of activity. However, research using modified team sports is currently limited to sedentary populations using 2-3 sessions across a minimum of 8 weeks. Aim: To investigate the effects of a four-week touch rugby and self-paced interval running intervention on a range of health markers in active men. Methods: Sixteen participants (age 26.4 ± 6.4 years) were matched for age, demographic and physical activity before completing a single touch rugby (n = 8) or running (n = 8) session per week for four weeks. Measures of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate (RHR), body composition and biochemical status were recorded pre- and post-intervention. Results: ANCOVA analysis revealed between-group differences for impedance (P = 0.027), fat mass (P = 0.008), percentage body fat (P = 0.008) and fat free mass (P = 0.002), with greater changes after touch rugby. Systolic blood pressure decreased for both groups with greater reductions observed after touch rugby (P = 0.002). No between-group difference was observed for RHR, interleukin-6 or C-reactive protein (P > 0.05). Contrasting internal, external and perceptual loads were observed. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that a single session of touch rugby over a 4-week period elicited greater improvements in body composition and SBP that self-paced running, with both equally beneficial for improving RHR, diastolic blood pressure and improved inflammatory status in active young men.
    • The effects of in-season, low-volume sprint interval training with and without sport-specific actions on the physical characteristics of elite academy rugby league players

      Dobbin, Nick; Highton, Jamie M.; Moss, Samantha; Twist, Craig (Human Kinetics, 2020-05-01)
      Purpose: To determine the utility of a running and rugby-specific, in-season sprint interval interventions in professional rugby league players. Methods: Thirty-one professional academy rugby players were assigned to a rugby-specific (SITr/s, n = 16) or running (SITr, n = 15) sprint interval training group. Measures of speed, power, change of direction (CoD) ability, prone Yo-Yo IR1 performance and heart rate recovery (HRR) were taken before and after the 2-week intervention as were sub-maximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Internal, external and perceptual responses were collected during SITr/s/SITr, with wellbeing and neuromuscular function assessed before each session. Results: Despite contrasting (possible to most likely) internal, external and perceptual responses to the SIT interventions, possible to most likely within-group improvements in physical characteristics, HRR and sub-maximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1 were observed after both interventions. Between-group analysis favoured the SITr/s intervention (trivial to moderate) for changes in 10 m sprint time, CMJ, change of direction and medicine ball throw as well as sub-maximal (280-440 m) high metabolic power, PlayerLoad™ and acceleratory distance during the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Overall changes in wellbeing or neuromuscular function were unclear. Conclusion: Two-weeks of SITr/s and SITr was effective for improving physical characteristics, HRR and sub-maximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1, with no clear change in wellbeing and neuromuscular function. Between-group analysis favoured the SITr/s group, suggesting that the inclusion of sport- specific actions should be considered for in-season conditioning of rugby league players.
    • Estimates of Energy Intake and Expenditure in Elite Female Touch Players During an International Tournament

      Marsh, Nicola; Dobbin, Nick; Twist, Craig; Curtis, Chris; St Mary’s University; University of Chester (Human Kinetics, 2017-12-31)
      This study assessed energy intake and expenditure of international female Touch players during an international tournament. Energy intake (food diary) and expenditure (accelerometer, global positioning system) were recorded for 16 female Touch players during a four-day tournament, competing in 8.0 ± 1.0 matches; two on days one, two and four, and three on day three. Total daily energy expenditure (43.6 ± 3.1 Kcal.kg-1 body mass (BM)) was not different (P > 0.05) from energy intake (39.9 ± 9.4 Kcal.kg-1 BM). Carbohydrate intakes were below current recommendations (6-10 g.kg-1 BM) on days one (4.4 ± 0.6 g.kg-1 BM) and three (4.7 ± 1.0 g.kg-1 BM) and significantly below (P < 0.05) on day two (4.1 ± 1.0 g.kg-1 BM). Protein and fat intakes were consistent with recommendations (protein; 1.2 - 2.0 g.kg-1 BM, fat; 20 - 35 % total Kcal) across days one to three (protein; 1.9 ± 0.8, 2.2 ± 0.8 & 2.0 ± 0.7 g.kg-1 BM, fat; 35.6 ± 6.8, 38.5 ± 6.4 & 35.9 ± 5.4 % total Kcal). Saturated fat intakes were greater (P < 0.05) than recommendations (10 % total Kcal) on days one to three (12.4 ± 2.9, 14.2 ± 5.1 & 12.7 ± 3.5 % total Kcal). On average, female Touch players maintained energy balance. Carbohydrate intakes appeared insufficient and might have contributed to the reduction (P < 0.05) in high-intensity running on day three. Further research might investigate the applicability of current nutrition recommendations and the role of carbohydrate in multi-match, multi-day tournaments.
    • An examination of a modified Yo-Yo test to measure intermittent running performance in rugby players

      Dobbin, Nick; Moss, Samantha; Highton, Jamie M.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-06-17)
      This study examined how starting each shuttle in the prone position altered the internal, external and perceptual responses to the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1. Using a randomized crossover design, 17 male rugby players completed the Yo-Yo IR1 and prone Yo-Yo IR1 on two separate occasions. External loads (via microtechnology), V ̇O2, heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured at 160, 280 and 440 m (sub-maximal) and when the test was terminated (peak). The pre-to-post change in blood lactate concentration (∆[La]b) was determined for both tests. All data were analysed using effect sizes and magnitude-based inferences. Between-trial differences (ES  90%CL) indicated total distance was most likely lower (-1.87  0.19), whereas other measures of peak external load were likely to very likely higher during the prone Yo-Yo IR1 (0.62-1.80). Sub-maximal RPE was likely to most likely higher (0.40-0.96) and peak RPE very likely higher (0.63  0.41) in the prone Yo-Yo IR1. The change in [La]b was likely higher after the prone Yo-Yo IRl. Mean HR was possibly lower at 440 m (-0.25  0.29) as was peak HR (-0.26  0.25) in the prone Yo-Yo IR1. "V" ̇E, "V" ̇O2 and "V" ̇CO2 were likely to very likely higher at 280 and 440 m (ES = 0.36-1.22), while peak values were possibly to likely higher (ES = 0.23-0.37) in the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Adopting a prone position during the Yo-Yo IR1 increases the internal, perceptual and external responses, placing greater emphasis on metabolically demanding actions typical of rugby.
    • Influence of contextual factors, technical performance and movement demands on the subjective task load associated with professional rugby league match-play

      Mullen, Thomas; Twist, Craig; Daniels, Matthew; Dobbin, Nick; Highton, Jamie; University of Chester
      Purpose: The aim of the study was to identify the association between several contextual match factors, technical performance and external movement demands on the subjective task load of elite rugby league players. Methods: Individual subjective task load, quantified using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX), was collected from 29 professional rugby league players from one club competing in the European Super League throughout the 2017 season. The sample consisted of 26 matches, culminating in 441 individual data points. Linear mixed-modelling was adopted to analyze the data for relationships and revealed that various combinations of contextual factors, technical performance and movement demands were associated with subjective task load. Results: Greater number of tackles (effect size correlation ± 90% CI; η2= 0.18 ±0.11), errors (η2= 0.15 ±0.08) decelerations (η2= 0.12 ±0.08), increased sprint distance (η2= 0.13 ±0.08), losing matches (η2= 0.36 ±0.08) and increased perception of effort (η2= 0.27 ±0.08) led to most likely – very likely increases in subjective total task load. The independent variables included in the final model for subjective mental demand (match outcome, time played and number of accelerations) were unclear, excluding a likely small correlation with the number of technical errors (η2= 0.10 ±0.08). Conclusions: These data provide a greater understanding of the subjective task load and their association with several contextual factors, technical performance and external movement demands during rugby league competition. Practitioners could use this detailed quantification of internal loads to inform the prescription of recovery sessions and current training practices.
    • The influence of preseason training phase and training load on body composition and its relationship with physical qualities in professional junior rugby league players

      Dobbin, Nick; Gardner, Adrian; Daniels, Matthew; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-08)
      This study investigated changes in body composition in relation to training load determined using RPE and duration (sRPE), and its relationship with physical qualities over a preseason period. Sixteen professional academy players (age = 17.2 ± 0.7 years; stature = 179.9 ± 4.9 cm; body mass = 88.5 ± 10.1 kg) participated in the study. Body composition was assessed before and after each training phase and physical qualities assessed at the start and end of preseason. Across the whole preseason period, skinfold thickness, body fat percentage and fat mass were most likely lower (ES = -0.73 to -1.00), and fat free mass and lean mass were likely to most likely higher (ES = 0.31 to 0.40). Results indicated that the magnitude of change appeared phase-dependent (ES = -0.05 to -0.85) and demonstrated large individual variability. Changes in physical qualities ranged from unclear to most likely (ES = -0.50 to 0.64). Small to moderate correlations were observed between changes in body composition, and TL with changes in physical qualities. This study suggests training phase and TL can influence a player’s body composition; that large inter-participant variability exists; and that body composition and TL are related to the change in physical qualities.
    • Sex-related changes in physical performance, wellbeing and neuromuscular function of elite Touch players during a four-day international tournament.

      Dobbin, Nick; Highton, Jamie M.; Thorpe, M.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University
      Purpose: To examine the within- and between-sex physical performance, wellbeing and neuromuscular function responses across a four-day international touch rugby (Touch) tournament. Methods: Twenty females and twenty-one males completed measures of wellbeing (fatigue, soreness, sleep, mood, stress) and neuromuscular function (countermovement jump (CMJ) height, peak power output (PPO) and peak force (PF)) during a 4-day tournament with internal, external and perceptual loads recorded for all matches. Results: Relative and absolute total, low- (females) and high-intensity distance was lower on day 3 (males and females) (ES = -0.37 to -0.71) compared to day 1. Mean heart rate was possibly to most likely reduced during the tournament (except day 2 males) (ES = -0.36 to -0.74), whilst RPE-TL was consistently higher in females (ES = 0.02 to 0.83). The change in mean fatigue, soreness and overall wellbeing were unclear to most likely lower (ES = -0.33 to -1.90) across the tournament for both sexes, with greater perceived fatigue and soreness in females on days 3-4 (ES = 0.39 to 0.78). Jump height and PPO were possibly to most likely lower across days 2-4 (ES = -0.30 to -0.84), with greater reductions in females (ES = 0.21 to 0.66). Wellbeing, CMJ height, and PF were associated with changes in external, internal and perceptual measures of load across the tournament (2 = -0.37 to 0.39). Conclusions: Elite Touch players experience reductions in wellbeing, neuromuscular function and running performance across a 4-day tournament, with notable differences in fatigue and running between males and females, suggesting sex-specific monitoring and intervention strategies are necessary.