Differences in strength and power among junior-high, senior-high, college-aged, and elite professional rugby league players

Daniel Baker
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2002, 16 (4): 581-5
Ninety-five rugby league players ranging from junior high-school to elite professionals were compared for measures of strength and power. Strength was assessed by 1 repetition maximum bench press strength (1RM BP). Upper-body and lower-body power outputs were assessed during bench press throws and jump squats with a resistance of 20 kg (BT P20 and JS P20, respectively). The 1RM BP was a potent descriptor of playing achievement levels and was significantly different among all groups investigated. Both the BT P20 and JS P20 of the elite professional National Rugby League (NRL) group were significantly higher than those of the college-aged rugby league (CRL) group, which in turn were significantly higher than those of the 3 high-school groups. Senior high-school players were more powerful in the upper body compared with nonresistance-trained junior high-school players but not with resistance-trained junior high-school players. There was no difference in lower-body power output among any of the 3 high-school groups. The correlation between players achievement level and 1RM BP, BT P20, and JS P20 was significant for all 3 tests, with relations of r = 0.80, r = 0.74, and r = 0.61, respectively. The results of this study suggest that young rugby league players should strive to increase strength and power to attain NRL professional status in the future.

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