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Running Demands and Heart Rate Responses in Men Rugby Sevens

Suarez-Arrones, Luis J.; Nuñez, Francisco J.; Portillo, Javier; Mendez-Villanueva, Alberto

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 11 - p 3155–3159
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318243fff7
Research Note

Abstract: Suarez-Arrones, LJ, Nuñez, FJ, Portillo, J, and Mendez-Villanueva, A. Running demands and heart rate responses in men rugby sevens. J Strength Cond Res 26(11): 3155–3159, 2012—The purpose of this study was to examine match running performance and exercise intensity in a Rugby Sevens (7s) team during competitive club-level matches. Time-motion analyses (global position system) were performed on 7 male rugby players during 5 competitive matches in a 2-day tournament. The players covered an average distance of 1,580.8 ± 146.3 m per game (14 minutes). Over this distance, 34.8% (549.7 ± 79.1 m) was spent standing and walking, 26.2% (414.8 ± 105.1 m) jogging, 9.8% (154.6 ± 53.5 m) cruising, 15.5% (244.5 ± 80.1 m) striding, 5% (79.5 ± 37.2 m) high-intensity running, and 8.7% (137.7 ± 84.9 m) sprinting. The average maximal distance of sprints, the number of sprints, the minimum distance of sprint, and the mean sprint distance over the game were 29.5 ± 11.7 m, 7.4 ± 3.9 sprints, 9.1 ± 5.7 m, and 18 ± 7.6 m, respectively. The player's work-to-rest ratio was 1:0.5. For over 75% of the game, the players were exposed to heart rates (HRs) >80% of their maximal HR. There were no statistical differences between the first and second halves in any of the variables analyzed. This study indicates that the physical demands of Rugby 7s are quite different from those encountered in other rugby codes and that the training regimes need to meet the increased overall running demands, the augmented high-intensity running actions, and the reduced work-to-rest ratios.

1Faculty of Sport, Pablo de Olavide University, Sevilla, Spain

2VF Sport, Sevilla, Spain

3Faculty of Sport Science, Toledo, Spain

4Spanish Rugby Federation, Madrid, Spain

5Physiology Unit, Sport Science Department, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar

Address correspondence to Alberto Mendez-Villanueva,

Copyright © 2012 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.