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Optimal Loading for the Development of Peak Power Output in Professional Rugby Players

Bevan, Huw R1; Bunce, Paul J2; Owen, Nick J1; Bennett, Mark A1; Cook, Christian J4; Cunningham, Dan J1; Newton, Robert U3; Kilduff, Liam P1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - pp 43-47
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c63c64
Original Research

Bevan, HR, Bunce, PJ, Owen, NJ, Bennett, MA, Cook, CJ, Cunningham, DJ, Newton, RU, and Kilduff, LP. Optimal loading for the development of peak power output in professional rugby players. J Strength Cond Res 24(1): 43-47, 2010-The ability to develop high levels of muscular power is considered an essential component of success in many sporting activities; however, the optimal load for the development of peak power during training remains controversial. Our aim in the present study was to determine the optimal load required to observe peak power output during the ballistic bench throw (BBT) and squat jump (SJ) in professional rugby players. Forty-seven, professional, male, rugby players of (mean ± SD) mass 101.3 ± 12.8 kg and height 1.82 ± 0.08 m volunteered and gave informed consent for this study, which was approved by a university ethics committee. Players performed BBT at loads of 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60% of their predetermined 1 repetition maximum (1RM) and SJ at loads of 0, (body mass only), 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60% of their predetermined 1RM in a randomized and balanced order. Power output (PO) was determined by measurement of barbell displacement with subsequent calculation of velocity, force, and power. Relative load had a significant effect on PO for both the BBT (effect size η2: 0.297, p < 0.001) and SJ (Effect Size η2: 0.709, p < 0.001). Peak power output was produced when the athletes worked against an external load equal to 30% 1RM for the upper body and 0% 1RM for the lower body.

1Sports and Exercise Science Research Group, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom; 2Bath Rugby, The Recreation Ground, Bath, United Kingdom; 3School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia; and 4UKsport, Bath University, Bath, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Dr. Liam P. Kilduff,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association