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J Sports Sci. 2003 Feb;21(2):97-103.

Heart rate, blood lactate concentration and estimated energy expenditure in a semi-professional rugby league team during a match: a case study.

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School of Leisure, Sport and Tourism, University of Technology, Sydney, Lindfield, NSW, Australia.


The aim of this study was to examine heart rate, blood lactate concentration and estimated energy expenditure during a competitive rugby league match. Seventeen well-trained rugby league players (age, 23.9 +/- 4.1 years; VO2max, 57.9 +/- 3.6 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1); height, 1.82 +/- 0.06 m; body mass, 90.2 +/- 9.6 kg; mean +/- s) participated in the study. Heart rate was recorded continuously throughout the match using Polar Vantage NV recordable heart rate monitors. Blood lactate samples (n = 102) were taken before the match, after the warm-up, at random stoppages in play, at half time and immediately after the match. Estimated energy expenditure during the match was calculated from the heart rate-VO2 relationship determined in laboratory tests. The mean team heart rate (n = 15) was not significantly different between halves (167 +/- 9 vs 165 +/- 11 beats x min(-1)). Mean match intensity was 81.1 +/- 5.8% VO2max. Mean match blood lactate concentration was 7.2 +/- 2.5 mmol x l(-1), with concentrations for the first half (8.4 +/- 1.8 mmol x l(-1)) being significantly higher than those for the second half (5.9 +/- 2.5 mmol x l(-1)) (P<0.05). Energy expenditure was approximately 7.9 MJ. These results demonstrate that semi-professional rugby league is a highly aerobic game with a considerable anaerobic component requiring high lactate tolerance. Training programmes should reflect these demands placed on players during competitive match-play.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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