The physical characteristics of elite female rugby union players Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • This study explored the anthropometric and body composition characteristics of elite female rugby union players, comparing between and within different playing positions. Thirty elite female rugby union players (25.6 ± 4.3 y, 171.3 ± 7.7 cm, 83.5 ± 13.9 kg) from New Zealand participated in this study. Physical characteristics were assessed using anthropometric (height, body mass, skinfolds) and body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) measures. Forwards were significantly taller (p < 0.01; d = 1.34), heavier (p < 0.01; d = 2.19), and possessed greater skinfolds (p < 0.01; d = 1.02) than backs. Forwards also possessed significantly greater total (p < 0.01; d = 1.83–2.25) and regional (p < 0.01; d = 1.50–2.50) body composition measures compared to backs. Healthy bone mineral density values were observed in both forwards and backs, with significantly greater values observed at the arm (p < 0.01; d = 0.92) and femoral neck (p = 0.04; d = 0.77) sites for forwards. Tight-five players were significantly heavier (p = 0.02; d = 1.41) and possessed significantly greater skinfolds (p < 0.01; d = 0.97) than loose-forwards. Tight-five also possessed significantly greater total body composition measures (p < 0.05; d = 0.97–1.77) and significantly greater trunk lean mass (p = 0.04; d = 1.14), trunk fat mass (p < 0.01; d = 1.84), and arm fat mass (p = 0.02; d = 1.35) compared to loose-forwards. Specific programming and monitoring for forwards and backs, particularly within forward positional groups, appear important due to such physical characteristic differences.

authors

publication date

  • September 4, 2020