Anthropometric and Physical Qualities of International Level Female Rugby Sevens Athletes Based on Playing Position

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Abstract

Agar-Newman, DJ, Goodale, TL, and Klimstra, MD. Anthropometric and Physical Qualities of International Level Female Rugby Sevens Athletes Based on Playing Position. J Strength Cond Res 31(5): 1346–1352, 2017—The purpose of this study was to profile international level female sevens athletes and determine whether anthropometric and physical qualities are able to differentiate between backs and forwards. Twenty-four subjects with a mean (±SD) age of 22.8 ± 4.0 years and body weight of 69.4 ± 5.2 kg were sampled from a national team training program, ranked in the top 3 on the IRB Women's Sevens World Series. Anthropometric (height, body mass, and sum of 7 skinfolds) and performance measures (power clean, front squat, bench press, neutral grip pull-up, 40-m sprint, and 1,600-m run) were collected across the 2013–2014 centralized period and compared across playing position. The 13 backs (mean age ± SD = 21.3 ± 3.5 years) and 11 forwards (mean age ± SD = 24.5 ± 4.0 years) had significant differences in body mass (66.40 ± 3.48 vs. 72.87 ± 4.79 kg) and initial sprint momentum (366.8 ± 19.8 vs. 399.2 ± 22.4 kg·m·s−1). However no other measures showed positional differences. The lack of positional differences in female rugby sevens may be due to the multifarious physical requirements of a sevens athlete, leading to a generic athletic profile, or perhaps due to a lack of selective pressure. Also, it is conceivable that the anthropometric and physical qualities measured in this study lacked the necessary precision or failed to capture the unique attributes of each position. In conclusion, this is the first investigation profiling international level female sevens athletes. The normative data presented within this article highlight the physical requirements of female sevens athletes for strength and conditioning practitioners. In addition, the lack of positional differences discovered should impact the training program design.

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