The Ratio and Allometric Scaling of Speed, Power, and Strength in Elite Male Rugby Union Players

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Abstract

Abstract:

Crewther, BT, McGuigan, MR, and Gill, ND. The ratio and allometric scaling of speed, power, and strength in elite male rugby union players. J Strength Cond Res 25(7): 1968-1975, 2011—This study compared the effectiveness of ratio and allometric scaling for normalizing speed, power, and strength in elite male rugby union players. Thirty rugby players (body mass [BM] 107.1 ± 10.1 kg, body height [BH] 187.8 ± 7.1 cm) were assessed for sprinting speed, peak power during countermovement jumps and squat jumps, and horizontal jumping distance. One-repetition maximum strength was assessed during a bench press, chin-up, and back squat. Performance was normalized using ratio and allometric scaling (Y/Xb), where Y is the performance, X, the body size variable (i.e., BM or BH), and b is the power exponent. An exponent of 1.0 was used during ratio scaling. Allometric scaling was applied using proposed exponents and derived exponents for each data set. The BM and BH variables were significantly related, or close to, performance during the speed, power and/or strength tests (p < 0.001-0.066). Ratio scaling and allometric scaling using proposed exponents were effective in normalizing performance (i.e., no significant correlations) for some of these tests. Allometric scaling with derived exponents normalized performance across all the tests undertaken, thereby removing the confounding effects of BM and BH. In terms of practical applications, allometric scaling with derived exponents may be used to normalize performance between larger rugby forwards and smaller rugby backs, and could provide additional information on rugby players of similar body size. Ratio scaling may provide the best predictive measure of performance (i.e., strongest correlations).

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