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The physical characteristics of elite female rugby union players

journal contribution
posted on 2021-01-18, 03:17 authored by L Posthumus, C Macgregor, P Winwood, J Tout, L Morton, Matthew DrillerMatthew Driller, N Gill
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This study explored the anthropometric and body composition characteristics of elite female rugby union players, comparing between and within different playing positions. Thirty elite female rugby union players (25.6 ± 4.3 y, 171.3 ± 7.7 cm, 83.5 ± 13.9 kg) from New Zealand participated in this study. Physical characteristics were assessed using anthropometric (height, body mass, skinfolds) and body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) measures. Forwards were significantly taller (p < 0.01; d = 1.34), heavier (p < 0.01; d = 2.19), and possessed greater skinfolds (p < 0.01; d = 1.02) than backs. Forwards also possessed significantly greater total (p < 0.01; d = 1.83–2.25) and regional (p < 0.01; d = 1.50–2.50) body composition measures compared to backs. Healthy bone mineral density values were observed in both forwards and backs, with significantly greater values observed at the arm (p < 0.01; d = 0.92) and femoral neck (p = 0.04; d = 0.77) sites for forwards. Tight-five players were significantly heavier (p = 0.02; d = 1.41) and possessed significantly greater skinfolds (p < 0.01; d = 0.97) than loose-forwards. Tight-five also possessed significantly greater total body composition measures (p < 0.05; d = 0.97–1.77) and significantly greater trunk lean mass (p = 0.04; d = 1.14), trunk fat mass (p <0.01; d = 1.84), and arm fat mass (p = 0.02; d = 1.35) compared to loose-forwards. Specific programming and monitoring for forwards and backs, particularly within forward positional groups, appear important due to such physical characteristic differences.


Publication Date



International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health





Article Number



10p. (p. 1-10)





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