Physical fitness qualities of professional rugby league football players: determination of positional differences

J Strength Cond Res. 2001 Nov;15(4):450-8.


A total of 146 professional rugby league football players, contracted to 2 teams competing in England (n = 45) and Australia (n = 101), participated in this study. All players completed the following series of physical fitness performance tests: 1 repetition maximum squat and bench press, 15- and 40-m sprint, agility run, 5-minute run for distance, 60-second sit-up, 30-second plyometric push-up, and measurement of body weight and subcutaneous skinfold (4 sites). Analysis of variance with a criterion alpha level of p < 0.05, was used to determine if any significant difference could be found when grouping players into 3 different positional categories typically identified in the sport. There were a number of significant differences with respect to test results between categories, and this was apparent for all 3 systems of categorization. On the basis of these findings, we recommend that to more efficiently structure the physical fitness training of players, the players should be grouped either according to the 2 broad positional categories of forwards or backs or according to the 4 categories of forwards, distributors, adjustables, and outside backs. Grouping players according to the 9 specific positions played on the team is not warranted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Football / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Running / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis*