Development of anthropometric characteristics in professional Rugby League players: Is there too much emphasis on the pre-season period?
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AbstractRugby League is a team sport requiring players to experience large impact collisions, thus requiring high amounts of muscle mass. Many players (academy and senior) strive to increase muscle mass during the pre-season, however, quantification of changes during this period have not been thoroughly investigated. We therefore assessed changes in body-composition using Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) in eleven academy players over three successive pre-seasons and ninety-three senior players from four different European Super League clubs prior to, and at the end of, a pre-season training period. There was no meaningful change in lean mass of the academy players during any of the pre-season periods (year 1 = 72.3 ± 7.1–73.2 ± 7.2kg; ES 0.05, year 2 = 74.4 ± 6.9–75.5 ± 6.9kg; ES 0.07, year 3 = 75.9 ± 6.7–76.8 ± 6.6kg; ES 0.06) with small changes only occurring over the three-year study period (72.3–75.9kg; ES = 0.22). Senior players showed trivial changes in all characteristics during the pre-season period (total mass = 95.1–95.0kg; ES −0.01, lean mass = 74.6–75.1kg; ES 0.07, fat mass = 13.6–12.9kg; ES −0.17, body fat percentage = 14.8–14.1%; ES −0.19). These data suggest that academy players need time to develop towards profiles congruent with senior players. Moreover, once players reach senior level, body-composition changes are trivial during the pre-season and therefore teams may need to individualise training for players striving to gain muscle mass by reducing other training loads.
CitationMorehen, J. C., Clarke, J., Batsford, J., Highton, J., Erskine, R. M., Morton, J. P., & Close, G. L. (2019). Development of anthropometric characteristics in professional rugby league players: Is there too much emphasis on the pre-season period? European Journal of Sport Science, 20(8), 1013-1022. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2019.169
DescriptionThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Journal of Sport Science on 04/12/2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17461391.2019.1695953
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