How vertical and horizontal components of strength and power
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Sprint speed is a fundamental determinant in successful performance within rugby union. Literature has displayed relationships between muscular strength, power and speed. However there is conflicting evidence over the strength of the correlations between variables. Very little research has been conducted into whether it is the production of vertical or horizontal strength and power, which is most beneficial for sprinting. Consequently, the aim of the study was to identify if it is horizontal or vertical, strength and power that was most closely correlated to sprint speed. Sixteen male university rugby players (18-23 years: mass 91.8 ±9.7kg: stature 182.2 ±6.5 cm) volunteered to be participants. Subjects completed a 1RM squat to measure vertical strength and a horizontal maximal sled push to measure horizontal strength during the first session. Participants also conducted a vertical counter movement jump (CMJ) to assess vertical power, calculating jump height, as well as a horizontal CMJ to measure horizontal power. Finally, a 40 m sprint measuring split times at 10m, 20m, 30m and 40m was conducted. Pearson’s product moment correlations were used to statistically analyse the results. Relative vertical power displayed significant negative correlations with 10m (r=-0.53*), 20m (r=-0.61**), 30m (r=-0.61**) and 40m (r=-0.62**) sprint times. Horizontal power was also significantly correlated to 30m (r=-0.51*) and 40m(r=-0.49*) sprint times. Both strength measures displayed weak nonsignificant relationships to all of the sprint distances. This indicates power is more closely correlated to sprint ability than strength, and also identifies that the direction of force production may facilitate different phases of sprinting highlighted by horizontal power being correlated to the longer sprint distances. These findings can be used to inform strength and conditioning within rugby union. Future research should examine horizontal and vertical strength and power to repeated sprint ability, to show more ecological validity to rugby union.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORTS AND EXERCISE SCIENCE
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