Complex Training in Professional Rugby Players: Influence of Recovery Time on Upper-Body Power Output Academic Article uri icon


  • After a bout of heavy resistance training (HRT), skeletal muscle is in both a fatigued and potentiated state. Subsequent muscle performance depends on the balance between these 2 factors. To date, there is no uniform agreement about the recovery time required between the HRT and subsequent muscle performance to gain performance benefits in the upper body. The aim of the present study was to determine the recovery time required to observe enhanced upper-body muscle performance after HRT (i.e., complex training). Twenty-six professional rugby players performed a ballistic bench press (BBP) at baseline and at approximately 15 seconds and 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, and 24 minutes after HRT (3 sets of 3 repetitions at 87% 1 repetition maximum). Peak power output (PPO) and throw height were determined for all BBPs. A significant time effect with regard to PPO (F = 29.145, partial Eta2 = 0.538, p < 0.01) and throw height (F = 17.362, partial Eta2 = 0.410, p < 0.01) was observed. Paired comparisons indicated a significant decrease in PPO and throw height in the BBP performed approximately 15 seconds after the HRT compared with the baseline BBP. After 8 minutes of recovery from the HRT, both PPO and throw height were significantly higher than the PPO and throw height recorded at baseline (e.g., PPO: 879 +/- 100 vs. 916 +/- 116 W, p < 0.01). It was concluded that muscle performance can be significantly enhanced after bouts of HRT during a BBP providing that adequate recovery (8 min) is given between the HRT and the explosive activity.

publication date

  • September 2009