Black G, Gabbett T.
No study has investigated the frequency and nature of repeated high-intensity effort
(RHIE) bouts across elite and semi-elite rugby league competitions.
This study examined RHIE activity in rugby league match-play across playing standards. Methods: Thirty-six elite and sixty-four semi-elite rugby league players participated in this study. Global positioning system analysis was completed during 17 elite and 14 semi-elite matches.
The most commonly occurring RHIE bouts involved two efforts (2-RHIE) for both elite and semi-elite players. Only small differences were found in 2-RHIE activity between elite and semi-elite
match-play (Effect Size ≥0.31 ± 0.15, ≥88%, likely). RHIE bouts were more likely to
involve contact as the number of efforts in a bout increased (ES ≥0.40 ± 0.15, 100%, almost
certainly). Semi-elite players performed a greater proportion of 2 contact effort RHIE bouts
compared to their elite counterparts (68.2 % vs. 60.6%, ES 0.33 ± 0.15, 92%, likely), while
elite players performed a greater proportion of 3-effort bouts (26.9% vs. 21.1%, ES 0.31 ±
0.15, 88%, likely). Elite players also had a shorter recovery (1.00-3.99 min vs. ≥4.00 min)
between RHIE bouts (ES ≥1.60 ± 0.71, ≥94%, likely).
Conclusion: These findings highlight the RHIE demands of elite and semi-elite rugby league match-play. Elite players are more likely to perform RHIE bouts consisting of 3 efforts, and are also more likely to have a shorter recovery time between bouts. Exposing players to these RHIE demands in training is likely to improve their ability to tolerate the most demanding passages of match-play.
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