Traditional Strength Training vs. Cluster Training in Academy Rugby Union Players
Hudd, Lewis John
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Objectives: To investigate the differences and similarities between traditional strength training and cluster or inter-repetition rest training in academy rugby union players and its effects on the force velocity curve, to determine which training method is better for development of each independent quality. Methods: A total of 22 collegiate academy rugby union players participated in a 4 week training intervention, where each player was randomly assigned into a group, traditional or cluster. Players underwent anthropometric measurements of height and weight and measurements of strength, power and speed-strength before and after the 4 week training intervention. Each player would follow a designed programme, where training loads progressively increased week by week. Training loads were calculated from a 1 repetition max (RM) at pre-testing. Each session would be supervised by a qualified strength and conditioning coach, where a RAMP warm up would be taken prior to training. After each gym and field session each player would give an RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) score out of 10, to ensure training intensity and volume would be matched across both training groups and due to the study taking place in-season. Results: Throughout the four week training intervention both training groups, cluster and traditional, saw significant increases in body mass, 1RM squat, Countermovement jump (CMJ) and Drop jump scores (P < 0.01). There was a significant difference in CMJ between the cluster group and the traditional group; however the cluster group saw lower baseline scores in 1RM squat and CMJ compared to the traditional group. Conclusion: These findings indicate that both methods, traditional strength and cluster training, are both suitable methods for developing strength qualities whereas cluster training proving to be ideal for developing speed-strength qualities.
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