The effects of a combined resisted jump training and rugby–conditioning program on selected physical, motor ability and anthropometric components of rugby players
Oosthuizen, Jacobus Johannes
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Plyometrics is primarily used by coaches and sport scientists to improve explosive power among athletes who participate in dynamic, high intensity type of sports. One of the plyometric-related training methods that has received attention in recent years, is loaded or resistance (resistive) jump training. Limited research does, however, exist with regard to the benefits and use of this training method as well as in conjunction with other training methods, especially among team sport participants. It is against this background that the research objectives of this study were firstly, to examine the effects of a 4-week combined rugby-conditioning and resisted jump training program compared to a combined rugby-conditioning and normal jump training program, on selected physical, motor ability and anthropometric components of university-level rugby players. The second objective was to examine the acute effects of a resisted compared to a normal jump training session on selected physical and motor ability components of university-level rugby players. Thirty rugby players (age: 19.60 ± 0.79 years) from the first and second u/19 and u/21 rugby teams of a university in South Africa were randomly selected to participate in the first part of study. For the second part of the study thirty senior rugby players (1st and 2nd senior teams) (age: 21.78 ± 1.86 years) of the Rugby Institute at a university in South Africa were randomly selected to participate in the study. For both studies the thirty players were in turn randomly divided into two groups of fifteen players each. One group formed the experimental and the other group the control group. The first objective was tested by subjecting the players to a 4-week combined sport-specific and resisted plyometric training program (experimental group) or a combined sport-specific and normal plyometric training program to investigate the adaptations of body composition, lower body flexibility, explosive leg power, speed, agility and leg strength. After a 10-week period (“wash-out period”) during which subjects continued with their normal rugby-conditioning program, the same testing procedures as before, were executed by following a crossover design. In order to test the second objective of the study players’ body weight and height were firstly measured after which they were subjected to a thorough warm-up, followed by the execution of the flexibility;Vertical Jump Test (VJT); 5-, 10- and 20 m speed tests; the Illinois Agility Run Test (IART) and the 6RM (repetition maximum) Smith Machine Squat Test (6RM-SMST). The experimental group was subject to the resisted jump training session on the Vertimax whereas the control group executed the same exercises on the floor. Directly after the training session each of the players again completed the test battery. After the first week, a crossover design was implemented. Although the overall study (independent t-test and main effect ANOVA) results of the first study suggested that the experimental group experienced more positive changes, especially with regard to the body fat, skeletal mass and somatotype-related anthropometric and flexibility-related measurements, only relaxed upper-arm girth, ectomorphy, left Active-straight-leg-raise-test and the left Modified Thomas Quadriceps Test values showed significant differences (p < 0.05) when the two groups of players were compared. Although the experimental group demonstrated significantly better average scores in the majority of the last-mentioned components, this group experienced a significantly higher reduction in relaxed upper-arm girth due to the conditioning program than the control group. The main effect ANOVA results of the acute study showed that no significant differences were obtained for any of the measured components between an acute resisted and normal jump training session. To conclude, the study revealed that a 4-week combined rugby-conditioning and resisted jump training program experimental group) did not benefit university-level rugby players significantly more with regard to selected physical, motor ability and anthropometric components than a combined rugby-conditioning and normal jump training program (control group). Furthermore, despite the fact that the acute resisted and normal jump training exercises met all the requirements to produce post-activation potentiation, the study results showed that these exercise sessions did not lead to any significant acute changes in the physical and motor ability components of university-level rugby players.
- Health Sciences