Seasonal Variation of Leg Stiffness in Professional Australian Rules Footballers

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Abstract

Pruyn, EC, Watsford, ML, Murphy, AJ, Pine, MJ, Spurrs, RW, Cameron, ML, and Johnston, RJ. Seasonal variation of leg stiffness in professional Australian rules footballers. J Strength Cond Res 27(7): 1775–1779, 2013—Leg stiffness (Kleg) is an important component to consider in both performance and injury in the Australian Football League (AFL). Kleg has not yet been examined longitudinally throughout an entire AFL season. A unilateral hop test was used to measure Kleg in the left and right legs of 25 professional AFL players (24.9 ± 4.3 years, 86.8 ± 8.1 kg, 187.0 ± 7.3 cm). Kleg was assessed at least once per month for each participant. Furthermore, the session rate of perceived exertion method was used to quantify the average weekly training loads experienced by the participants. One-way analysis of variance revealed no significant difference between the average monthly bilateral Kleg scores; however, average weekly training loads varied between 1,400 and 2,000 AU, depending on the training period. Thirteen participants were randomly selected to perform hop tests on 2 consecutive weeks. Reliability tests revealed these measurements to have a typical error of the measurement of 4.15% and an intraclass correlation of 0.8, proving the methods to be reliable. Although training intensity appears to vary, Kleg does not fluctuate significantly across an entire AFL season, suggesting that weekly training loads between 1,400 and 2,000 AU may be prescribed without the risk of fluctuating stiffness levels.

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