JOURNAL ARTICLE

Physiological and anthropometric characteristics of elite women rugby league players

Tim J Gabbett
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2007, 21 (3): 875-81
17685702
This study investigated the physiological and anthropometric characteristics of elite women rugby league players and developed physical performance standards for these athletes. Thirty-two elite women rugby league players underwent measurements of standard anthropometry (body mass, height, sum of 7 skinfolds), muscular power (vertical jump), speed (10-, 20-, and 40-m sprint), agility (505 test), glycolytic capacity (glycolytic agility test), and estimated maximal aerobic power (multistage fitness test). The skinfold thickness, speed, agility, vertical jump height, glycolytic capacity, and estimated maximal aerobic power results were 6.0-38.1% poorer than previously reported for elite women team sport athletes (e.g., rugby union, soccer, and hockey). Although no significant differences (p > 0.05) were detected between selected and nonselected players for any of the physiological or anthropometric characteristics, significant differences (p < 0.05) were detected between forwards and backs for body mass, skinfold thickness, 10-, 20-, and 40-m speed, and estimated maximal aerobic power. When data were analyzed according to positional similarities, it was found that the hit-up forwards positional group were heavier, had greater skinfold thickness, and had lower 10-, 20-, and 40-m speed, muscular power, glycolytic capacity, and estimated maximal aerobic power than the adjustables and outside backs positional groups. The results of this study show that elite women rugby league players have slower speed and agility, lower muscular power, glycolytic capacity, and estimated maximal aerobic power, and greater body mass and skinfold thickness than previously reported for other elite women team sport athletes. These findings show the need to develop all physiological parameters to allow elite women rugby league players to more effectively tolerate the physiological demands of competition, reduce fatigue-related errors in skill execution, and decrease the risk of injury.

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