Quantifying Neuromuscular Fatigue Induced by an Intense Training Session in Rugby Sevens

Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2017 Feb;12(2):218-223. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2016-0030. Epub 2016 Aug 24.


Purpose: To compare the sensitivity of a sprint vs a countermovement-jump (CMJ) test after an intense training session in international rugby sevens players, as well as analyze the effects of fatigue on sprint acceleration.

Methods: Thirteen international rugby sevens players completed two 30-m sprints and a set of 4 repetitions of CMJ before and after a highly demanding rugby sevens training session.

Results: Change in CMJ height was unclear (-3.6%; ±90% confidence limits 11.9%. Chances of a true positive/trivial/negative change: 24/10/66%), while a very likely small increase in 30-m sprint time was observed (1.0%; ±0.7%, 96/3/1%). A very likely small decrease in the maximum horizontal theoretical velocity (V0) (-2.4; ±1.8%, 1/4/95%) was observed. A very large correlation (r = -.79 ± .23) between the variations of V0 and 30-m-sprint performance was also observed. Changes in 30-m sprint time were negatively and very largely correlated with the distance covered above the maximal aerobic speed (r = -.71 ± .32).

Conclusions: The CMJ test appears to be less sensitive than the sprint test, which casts doubts on the usefulness of a vertical-jump test in sports such as rugby that mainly involve horizontal motions. The decline in sprint performance relates more to a decrease in velocity than in force capability and is correlated with the distance covered at high intensity.

Keywords: jump; performance; sprint; team sports; tests.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Adult
  • Exercise Test / methods*
  • Football / physiology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Perception
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / methods*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Plyometric Exercise