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Running Demands and Heart Rate Response in Rugby Sevens Referees

Suarez-Arrones, Luis1; Calvo-Lluch, África1; Portillo, Javier2; Sánchez, Francisco2; Mendez-Villanueva, Alberto3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: June 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 6 - p 1618–1622
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182712755
Original Research

Suarez-Arrones, L, Calvo-Lluch, Á, Portillo, J, Sánchez, F, and Mendez-Villanueva, A. Running demands and heart rate response in rugby sevens referees. J Strength Cond Res 27(6): 1618–1622, 2013—The purpose of this study was to examine for the first time the match running demands and heart rate (HR) responses associated with elite rugby sevens referees. Twelve referees were analyzed over 38 games, using Global Positioning System. Referees covered an average distance of 1665.2 ± 203.5 m per game (15.1 ± 0.5 minutes). Over this distance, 22.3% (371.8 ± 48.9 m) was spent standing and walking, 25.9% (431.2 ± 92.6 m) jogging, 12.4% (206.5 ± 53.2 m) cruising, 23.8% (395.6 ± 94.3 m) striding, 8% (133.3 ± 61.6 m) high-intensity running, and 7.6% (126.7 ± 87.3 m) sprinting. The average maximal distance of sprints, the number of sprints, and the mean sprint distance over the game were 31.3 ± 13.4 m, 5.76 ± 3.6 sprints, and 19.9 ± 7.8 m, respectively. The referee’s work-to-rest ratio was 3.5:1. There were no statistical differences between the first and second half in any of the running variables analyzed. The average HR in the second half (160 ± 9 b·min−1; 86 ± 5% maximal heart rate (HRmax) of the estimated) was higher (p < 0.05) than the HR recorded in the first half (154 ± 11 b·min−1; 83 ± 6% of the estimated HRmax). This study also suggests that the physical demands of referring in rugby sevens are quite different from those encountered in other rugby codes, and the training regimes need to meet the increased overall running demands and high-intensity running activity.

1Faculty of Sport Sciences, Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain

2Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Castilla La Mancha, Toledo, Spain

3Physiology Unit, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar

Address correspondence to Dr. Luis Suarez Arrones,

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.