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The effects of physical contact type on the internal and external demands during a rugby league match simulation protocol.Norris, Jonathan; Highton, Jamie M.; Hughes, Stephen F.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2016-02-09)This study investigated how the type of contact influences physiological, perceptual and locomotive demands during a simulated rugby league match. Eleven male university rugby league players performed two trials of the rugby league movement simulation protocol for forwards (RLMSP-i) with a traditional soft tackle bag (BAG) and a weighted tackle sled (SLED) to replicate contact demands. Locomotive rate, sprint speed, tackle intensity, heart rate, rating of perceived exertion and blood lactate concentration were analysed in four periods during the first and second bout of both trials. Countermovement jump (CMJ) was measured before and immediately after each trial. More time was spent in heart rate zone between 90 – 100% HRpeak during the first (effect size ± 95% confidence interval: 0.44 ± 0.49) and second bout (0.44 ± 0.43), and larger (0.6 ± 0.69) decrements in CMJ performance were observed during SLED (5.9, s = 4.9%) compared to BAG (2.6, s = 5.4%). Sprint into contact speed was faster during BAG compared to SLED in the first (1.10 ± 0.92) and second bout (0.90 ± 0.90), which impaired high intensity running ability but did not increase physiological strain. Changing the type of contact during the match simulation subtly altered both the internal and external load on participants. These findings indicate that tackle training apparatus should be considered regarding the outcome of a training session.