• 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.