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Article Title

EFFECTS OF EXTERNAL LOADING DURING DAILY LIVING ON ANAEROBIC PERFORMANCE IN D1-A RUGBY ATHLETES

Abstract

Matthew Pulscher, Eric Scudamore, Eric O'Neal and Veronika Pribyslavska

Arkansas State University, Jonsboro, AR

External load during daily living (ELDL) consists of wearing a weighted vest during activities of daily living, but not training. ELDL has been demonstrated to improve sprint and jump performances. However, a 3-week ELDL period has not been evaluated in rugby athletes. Purpose: Assess the effects of a 3-week ELDL period on sprint, jump, and sled push performances in D1-A rugby athletes. Methods: Fifteen rugby athletes were stratified into ELDL (n=7, 19 ± 1 years, 98.8 ± 11.8 kg, BF%: 17.4 ± 4.8%) and control (CON) groups (n=8, 20 ± 1 years, 88.9 ± 12.9 kg, BF%: 16.6 ± 4.0%) based on 40 m sprint times. Baseline performance testing consisted of a counter movement jump (CMJ), 4 continuous jumps (4CJ), 40 m sprint (SP), and a 15-yd, 92 kg sled push (SLD). After baseline testing, the ELDL group wore weight vests for 3 weeks prior to the start of season. Loads increased from 10% (9.9 ± 1.2 kg), 12.5% (12.3 ± 1.5 kg), and 15% (14.8 ± 1.8 kg) each week. Training was identical between groups. Performance was reassessed after ELDL and percentage change from baseline to post-ELDL period were calculated. Paired t-tests and Cohen’s d effect sizes were used to identify change between baseline and post-intervention. Results: Percent improvement between baseline and post in 4CJ explosive leg power factor (Time in air/Time on ground) was significant for the ELDL group (+11.3%; p = 0.05), but not for the CON group (-3.3%; p = 0.20). Improvement in 4CJ ground contact time approached significance (p = 0.057) for the ELDL group (-11.4% secs) compared to CON (-3.3% secs; p = 0.27). Non-significant percent change difference was analyzed between ELDL and CON for remaining performance variables. Refer to table 1 for descriptive and comparative data. Conclusion: A larger sample of observation is needed but this investigation provides promising evidence that ELDL may be beneficial for improving explosive aspects of anaerobic performances in D1A rugby athletes.

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