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Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182606cff
Original Research

Effects of Resisted Sprint Training on Acceleration in Professional Rugby Union Players

West, Daniel J.1; Cunningham, Dan J.2; Bracken, Richard M.2; Bevan, Huw R.2; Crewther, Blair T.2,3; Cook, Christian J.2,3,4; Kilduff, Liam P.2

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Abstract

West, DJ, Cunningham, DJ, Bracken, RM, Bevan, HR, Crewther, BT, Cook, CJ, and Kilduff, LP. Effects of resisted sprint training on acceleration in professional rugby union players. J Strength Cond Res 27(4): 1014–1018, 2013—The use of weighted sled towing as a training tool to improve athlete acceleration has received considerable attention; however, its effectiveness for developing acceleration is equivocal. This study compared the effects of combined weighted sled towing and sprint training against traditional sprint training on 10 and 30 m speed in professional rugby union players (n = 20). After baseline testing of 10 and 30 m speed, participants were assigned to either the combined sled towing and sprint training (SLED) or traditional sprint training (TRAD) groups, matched for 10-m sprint times. Each group completed 2 training sessions per week for 6 weeks, with performance reassessed post-training. Both training programmes improved participants' 10 and 30 m speed (p < 0.001), but the performance changes (from pre to post) in 10 m (SLED −0.04 ± 0.01 vs. TRAD −0.02 ± 0.01 seconds; p < 0.001) and 30 m (SLED −0.10 ± 0.03 vs. TRAD −0.05 ± 0.03 seconds; p = 0.003) sprint times were significantly greater in the SLED training group. Similarly, the percent change within the SLED group for the 10 m (SLED −2.43 ± 0.67 vs. TRAD −1.06 ± 0.80 seconds; p = 0.003) and 30 m (SLED −2.46 ± 0.63 vs. TRAD −1.15 ± 0.72 seconds; p = 0.003) tests were greater than the TRAD group. In conclusion, sprint training alone or combined with weighted sled towing can improve 10 and 30 m sprint times; however, the latter training method promoted greater improvements in a group of professional rugby players.

© 2013 National Strength and Conditioning Association

 

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