Physical Performance
 

To be the fittest rugby nation in the world. 

Key Definitions

  • MAXIMAL STRENGTH: Ability to produce large amounts of force
  • ISOMETRIC STRENGTH: Ability to tolerate large external force
  • REPEATED ANAEROBIC EFFORT ABILITY: Ability to perform consecutive bouts of explosive efforts (ball carry, tackle, ruck, maul) lasting 20 to 40 sec
  • CLOSE QUARTERS AGILITY: Ability to change shape and evade at low velocities
  • ACCELERATION: Ability to rapidly change speed from standing and rolling start
  • VERTICAL JUMP HEIGHT: Maximal vertical jump height with minimal countermovement 
  • AEROBIC ENDURANCE: Ability to recover heart rate quickly between anaerobic bouts and sustain
  • AGILITY AT PACE: Ability to change direction at high velocities with minimal loss in speed
  • SPEED: Ability to reach and maintain near maximal velocity

Monitoring

Rate of Perceived Exertion:

  • Subjective monitoring test, although evidence suggests RPE is a simple and fairly accurate way to measure the actual heart rate.
  • Borg rating of Perceived Exertion is a way of measuring physical activity intensity level.
  • Based on the physical sensations a person experiences during physical activity, including increased heart rate, increased respiration or breathing rate, increased sweating, and muscle fatigue.
 
IMG_6385.jpg
 

Key Tests

Anthropometric

Standing Height
Purpose: 
Required equipment: stadiometer (or steel ruler or tape measure placed against a wall). 

  1. Participants are asked to remove their shoes, heavy outer garments, and hats / hair ornaments. 
  2. The participant is asked to stand with his/her back to the height rule. The back of the head, back, buttocks, calves and heels should be touching the upright, feet together. The top of the external auditory meatus (ear canal) should be level with the inferior margin of the bony orbit (cheek bone). The participant is asked to look straight
  3. The head piece of the stadiometer or the sliding part of the measuring rod is lowered so that the hair (if present) is pressed flat
  4. Height is recorded to the resolution of the height rule (i.e. nearest millimeter/half a centimeter). If the participant is taller than the measurer, the measurer should stand on a platform so that he/she can properly read the height rule

Body Mass
Purpose: 
Required equipment: scale calibrated for accuracy using weights authenticated by a government department of weights and measures.

Set-up:
scale should be placed on a hard-floor surface (not on a floor which is carpeted or otherwise covered with soft material). If there is no such floor available, a hard wooden platform should be placed under the scale. A carpenter's level should be used to verify that the surface on which the scale is placed is horizontal

Process:

  1. Participants are asked to remove their heavy outer garments (jacket, coat, throusers, skirts, etc.) and shoes
  2. participant stands in the center of the platform, weight distributed evenly to both feet. Standing off-center may affect measurement

Wingspan
Purpose: Wingpan is the physical measurement of the length from one end of an individual's arms, at the tip of the middle finger, to the other when raised arms parallel to the ground at shoulder height at a one-hundred eighty degree angle from each other. 
Required equipment: scale calibrated for accuracy using weights authenticated by a government department of weights and measures.

Set-up:

Process:

  1. Participant stands against wall, facing out, each arms raised at a 90 degree angle with head, back, buttocks against wall. 
  2. Tape measure applied across the body from middle finger tip to the other middle finger tip.

Hand-size
Purpose: The size of an athlete’s hand could be an indication of success in certain aspects of rugby—catching, passing, gripping. Research and data is not comprehensive. It is important, however, that we begin to collect this data to see if correlation to success in certain areas of the game in the coming years. 
Required equipment: scale calibrated for accuracy using weights authenticated by a government department of weights and measures.

Set-up:

Process:

  1. The hand is placed palm down on a flat surface. 
  2. The fingers are outstretched as far as possible. 
  3. Measure the linear distance between the outside of the thumb to the outside of the little finger. 


Strength & Power

Vertical Jump: Chalk Method

  1. The athlete should warm up properly prior to the performance of this test.
  2. A tape measure or ruler should be put up on the wall measuring height in 1-inch increments.
  3. The athlete should rub chalk on his/her fingertips (climbing chalk or weightlifting chalk works well).
  4. The athlete stands with the dominant shoulder next to the wall and, with both feet flat on the floor, reaches as high as possible with the dominant hand. The athlete should make a chalk mark on the wall and the tester should record the height of the reach to the nearest half inch. The athlete should then lower the hand back to the side.
  5. Without taking a step forward, the athlete performs a countermovement by lowering the body while swinging the arms backward before exploding upward in an attempt to achieve a maximal jump height. During the jump, the dominant hand reaches upward.
  6. At the highest point in the jump, the athlete places a second chalk mark on the wall with the fingers of the dominant hand using a swiping motion of the fingers. The tester should record the height of the second chalk mark to the nearest half inch.
  7. The score is recorded as the vertical distance between the two chalk marks.
  8. The athlete can make three attempts at this exercise, and the tester should record the highest of the three jump attempts.

 

Vertical Jump: Vertec Method

  1. The athlete should warm up properly prior to the performance of this test.
  2. Set up a Vertec vertical jump measurement device and position the height of the ‘vanes’ to reflect the height of the athlete.
  3. The athlete should stand with both feet flat on the floor and reach as high as possible with the dominant hand. The athlete should touch as high as possible, and the tester should record the height of the reach to the nearest half inch. The athlete should them lower the hand back to the side.
  4. Without taking a step forward, the athlete performs a countermovement by lowering the body while swinging the arms backward before exploding upward in an attempt to achieve a maximal jump height. During the jump, the dominant hand reaches upward.
  5. At the highest point in the jump, the athlete should hit the vanes as high as possible, using a swiping motion of the fingers and hand. Using the height of the highest vane hit, the tester should record the height of the second chalk mark to the nearest half inch.
  6. The score is recorded as the vertical distance between the two chalk marks.
  7. The athlete can make three attempts at this exercise, and the tester should record the highest of the three jump attempts.

Broad Jump

  1. The athlete should warm up properly prior to the performance of this test.
  2. Set up a ‘tape line’ on the floor where the athlete will jump from.
  3. The athlete should stand with his/her toes just behind the starting line.
  4. The athlete performs a countermovement and jumps forward as far as possible.
  5. The tester should mark the point where the athlete touches the ground that is closest to the take-off line. If the athlete falls backward, the distance should be measured to the point where the hand or body touches the ground.
  6. Jump distance is measured from the line to the point of landing location. 
  7. The tester should record the distance of the jump.
  8. The athlete can make three (3) attempts at this exercise. The best distance of the three attempts should be recorded.

Squat (3-repetition maximum)

  1. The athlete should warm up properly prior to the performance of this test.
  2. Set up the squat rack so the bar is slightly lower than shoulder height. The bar should be able to clear the standards when the athlete stands up.
  3. The athlete should step under the bar and position the bar so it lies across the upper back. The hands should be positioned 10-15 centimeters wider than your shoulders. 
  4. Step back from the rack (take one step backwards) and position the feet approximately shoulder-width apart. 
  5. The athlete should drop into a controlled squat where he/she lowers himself/herself until the thighs are parallel to the floor (the imaginary line connecting the knee to the hip should be parallel to the floor). This is the minimum acceptable squat depth; if an athlete chooses to go deeper into the squat, that is OK.
  6. Drive upwards into a standing position. Keep the head in a neutral position throughout the entire exercise. 
  7. Complete three reps without resting. 
  8. NOTE: In performing this exercise, it is recommended to build into the maximum effort. A typical warm-up could include the following:
    1. 5-8 repetitions lifting just the bar. Rest at least a minute.
    2. 3-5 repetitions using approximately 60 percent of the estimated load that will used for the 3-repetition max. Rest 2 minutes.
    3. 2 repetitions using approximately 80 percent of the estimated load that will be used for the 3-repetition max. Rest 2 minutes.
    4. 1 repetition using approximately 90 percent of the estimated load that will be used for the 3-repetition max. Rest 2 minutes.

9.    Record the maximum weight lifted for three (3) repetitions.

Underhand Medicine Ball Toss

  1. The athlete should warm up properly prior to the performance of this test.
  2. Set up a ‘tape line’ on the floor where the athlete will throw from.
  3. The athlete should pick up a medicine ball (15 pounds for men, 12 pounds for women) and stand with his/her toes just at the starting line.
  4. The athlete can perform a countermovement and lower the medicine ball between the legs, before launching upwards and forwards to throw the medicine ball. The goal is to throw the medicine ball as far as possible horizontally. NOTE: It is OK for the momentum generated by the athlete during the throw to carry him/her past the start line so that the athlete ‘lands’ past the start/throw line.
  5. The tester should mark the point where the medicine ball first hits the ground. 
  6. Throw distance is measured from the start line to the point the ball lands. 
  7. The tester should record the distance of the throw.
  8. The athlete can make three (3) attempts at this exercise. The furthest distance of the three attempts should be recorded.

Speed

10-Meter & 40-Meter Sprint: Timing Eye (preferred method)

ahman green sm.jpg
  1. The athlete should warm up properly prior to the performance of this test.
  2. Timing eyes should be set up at the starting line and at the 10-meter finish line. The timing eye at the start should be set up so it is approximately 15 inches off the ground (so it will be triggered by the foot/lower leg) and the timing eye at the finish should be approximately 36 inches off the ground (to be triggered by the torso as it passes the finish line).
  3. The timing eyes should be set so the stopwatch starts when the first beam is tripped and stops when the athlete crosses the finish at 10 meters. All timing eyes should be tested to make sure they are functioning properly prior to the execution of the test.
  4. A ‘tape line’ should be put on the floor 1 meter before the first timing eye, and the athlete should start with one foot fully in front of this line and the other foot behind the line.
  5. The athlete starts on his/her own when he/she is ready (i.e. there should not be a start command given to the athlete). The athlete will trigger the first timing eye to start the clock once he/she starts the sprint. The athlete should start from a static position (NO ROCKING BACK OR ROLLING FORWARD).
  6. The tester should record the time for the athlete.
  7. The athlete can make three (3) attempts at this exercise. The best time of the three attempts should be recorded.

10-Meter Sprint: Stopwatch Timing (alternate method)

  1. The athlete should warm up properly prior to the performance of this test.
  2. A starting line should be marked on the floor and the finish line should be marked by cones 10 meters away (it should be a straight-line path from start to finish).
  3. The athlete should line up with the lead foot at the start line.
  4. Once the athlete is set, the tester should move to the finish line with the stopwatch. 
  5. The athlete starts when he/she is ready and should start from a static position (NO ROCKING BACK OR ROLLING FORWARD).
  6. The tester should start the stopwatch on athlete movement.
  7. The tester should stop the watch as the athlete’s torso crosses the 10-meter line.
  8. The athlete can make three (3) attempts at this exercise. The best time of the three attempts should be recorded by the tester.

Endurance

 
YoYo start.jpg
 

Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1

Purpose: The intermittent nature of the YIRT test taxes the body in a way that relates in part to the character of rugby. Distance covered on the YIRT relates closely to key performance variable: 

  • Positional play determination
  • Player’s competitive classification
  • High-intensity work ability 
YoYo diagram.jpg

Set-Up: No limit on number of players tested at once however the more players running the more spotters required (1 per 10 athletes). Can be run on most surfaces (when recording data ensure you note surface type). Set up the running area as per diagram below. Mark out an area with 2 lines of cones 20m apart. Mark out a further line of cones 5m behind the start line. 

Process

yoback_sm.jpg
  • The YIRT1 is typically administered following the 40-meter sprint test. If not, ensure a minimum of 15 minutes warm up prior to testing. The warm up needs to be 
  • progressive and structured. This should be replicated at each testing. 
  • Players should start with foot on the line and run forward at the time of the first beep.
  • Players pace their running speed so that they reach the line of cones 20m away on or before the next beep. 
  • Ensure that players are putting their foot on/over the line or in line/past line of cones. 
  • They immediately turn and run back to the start line/cone on or before the next beep. 
  • Once they get across the start line/cone they continue jogging/walking to the line of cones 5m past the start then turn and go back to the start line to wait for the next beep. 
  • Once back at the start line they stop and wait for the next beep. 
  • The recovery time between finishing the shuttle and starting the next one is 10 seconds so players will have plenty of time to complete the jog/walk to the 5m and back. 
  • It is important that players are back at the start line and stationary before the next beep to avoid a rolling start. Players continue running until they are unable to maintain the current speed for any 2 trials. 
  • The first time players do not get back to the start line on or before the beep they are given a warning and the next time they miss they must stop. 
  • The result is the last shuttle that the player completed successfully not the one s/he disqualified on: e,g. if a player has had a warning (1 miss) and they make level 19-5 successfully but miss 19-6 then level 19-5 is recorded as their result. 

Bronco.jpg

Bronco 1200 Meter Shuttle

Protocols:  

  • 1200-meter shuttle run for total time.
  • Cones at 20-meter, 40-meter, 60-meter. 
  • Run 20m and back to start, 40m and back to start, 60m and back to start, continuously. Touch each line with foot. 
  • Repeat 5 times with no rest in between. 

Repeated Sprint - Double (RSD)

Protocols:  

  • 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 meter shuttle. Measure the distance each time. 
  • 30 seconds to run shuttle as far as possible; then 35sec rest. 
  • Complete 6 times. 
  • After the 6th rep, 3 minutes rest and then complete the whole thing again. 
  • Score out of 1800m is measured.