Effects of electromyostimulation training on muscle strength and power of elite rugby players

J Strength Cond Res. 2007 May;21(2):431-7. doi: 10.1519/R-19365.1.


The present study investigated the influence of a 12-week electromyostimulation (EMS) training program performed by elite rugby players. Twenty-five rugby players participated in the study, 15 in an electrostimulated group and the remaining 10 in a control group. EMS was conducted on the knee extensor, plantar flexor, and gluteus muscles. During the first 6 weeks, training sessions were carried out 3 times a week and during the last 6 weeks, once a week. Isokinetic torque of the knee extensors was determined at different eccentric and concentric angular velocities ranging from -120 to 360 degrees .s(-1). Scrummaging and full squat strength, vertical jump height and sprint-running times were also evaluated. After the first 6 weeks of EMS, only the squat strength was significantly improved (+8.3 +/- 6.5%; p < 0.01). After the 12th week, the -120 degrees .s(-1) maximal eccentric, 120 and 240 degrees .s(-1) maximal concentric torque (p < 0.05), squat strength (+15.0 +/- 8.0%; p < 0.001), squat jump (+10.0 +/- 9.5%; p < 0.01), and drop jump from a 40-cm height (+6.6 +/- 6.1%; p < 0.05) were significantly improved. No significant change was observed for the control group. A 12-week EMS training program demonstrated beneficial effects on muscle strength and power in elite rugby players on particular tests. However, rugby skills such as scrummaging and sprinting were not enhanced.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Football / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Torque