Influence of playing standard on upper- and lower-body strength, power and velocity characteristics of elite rugby league players

John Fernandes, Matthew Daniels, Liam Myler, Craig Twist

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article

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Background: To compare load-velocity and load-power relationships among 1st grade (n=26, age 22.9±4.3 years), academy (n=23, age 17.1±1.0 years) and scholarship (n=16, age 15.4±0.5 years) Super League rugby league players. 
Methods: Participants completed assessments of maximal upper- and lower-body strength (1RM) and peak velocity and power at 20, 40, 60 and 80kg during bench press and squat exercise, in a randomised order. Results: Bench press and squat 1RM were highest for 1st grade compared to other standards (ES=-0.43 to -3.18). Peak velocities during bench and squat were greater in the higher playing standards (ES=-0.39 to -3.72 range), except for squat at 20 and 40kg. Peak power was higher in the better playing standards for all loads and exercises. For all three groups, velocity was correlated to optimal bench press power (r=0.514 to 0.766), but only 1RM was related to optimal power (r=0.635) in the scholarship players. Only squat 1RM in the academy was related to optimal squat power (r=0.505). 
Conclusions: Peak velocity and power are key physical qualities to be developed that enable progression from junior elite rugby league to 1st grade. Resistance training should emphasise both maximal strength and velocity components, to optimise upper- and lower-body power in professional rugby league players.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2019



  • Adult
  • Muscle function
  • Physical qualities
  • Profiling
  • Youth

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