Training Unloading During Winter Break Improves Fitness in Male Rugby Players
J. Mark VanNess: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5902-8735
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Health, Exercise, and Sport Sciences Department
When athletes experience training distress, a break in training may facilitate recovery and improve performance. Conversely, when team training is interrupted, such as occurs during winter break in collegiate athletes, deconditioning may result. In the current study, physiological responses to exercise were made before and after an unstructured winter break in male collegiate rugby players. PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to examine detraining effects that occurred when structured training was interrupted for four weeks. METHODS: Fourteen (n=14) male club rugby players underwent exercise testing to assess aerobic capacity (VO2 max), strength (maximal bench press and leg squat), speed (10 yd dash), power (vertical jump), and body composition (body weight and % body fat by underwater weighing). A subject orientation of the testing was performed for all tests, and the treatment data were collected just prior to, and after the winter school break. T-tests were performed on pre- and post-winter break values. RESULTS: There was no evidence of detraining after four weeks of unstructured training. No changes were observed in bench press strength (183 versus 188.6 lbs) or speed (1.69 versus 1.69 seconds) across the break. However, performance measures for aerobic capacity (45.45 versus 47.70 ml/kg/min), squat strength (269.6 versus 308.2 lbs) and vertical jump (22.52 versus 23.94 inches) all showed significant improvements following the break. Additionally, there were significant increases in body weight (176.96 versus 178.63 lbs) and percent fat (12.76 versus 15.27% fat). CONCLUSION: Four weeks of unstructured training over the winter school break appears to have provided a recovery period that allowed for increases in physiological function despite increases in body fat.
McConnell, J. P.,
VanNess, J. M.,
Jensen, C. D.
Training Unloading During Winter Break Improves Fitness in Male Rugby Players.
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 49(5S), 1056.