Neuromuscular Function, Hormonal, and Mood Responses to a Professional Rugby Union Match

1Health and Sport Portfolio, Talbot Building, College of Engineering, Swansea University, Swansea, UK 2UK Sport, London, UK. 3Department of Sport and Exercise Science, School of Life Science, Northumberland Building, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 4Hamlyn Centre, Institute of Global Health Innovation, Imperial College, London, UK 5School of Psychology, University of Glamorgan, UK 6Scarlets Rugby, Llanelli, UK.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (Impact Factor: 2.08). 03/2013; 28(1). DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318291b726
Source: PubMed


We examined the recovery time-course of neuromuscular function (NMF), the testosterone and cortisol hormonal milieu and mood for 60 hours following a competitive match, in professional rugby union players (n=14). Thirty-six hours pre-match (19:30 hours kick-off), baseline saliva (testosterone, cortisol and testosterone-cortisol [T/C] ratio), countermovement jumps (peak power output [PPO]), and mood (Brief Assessment of Mood Questionnaire) were collected and was repeated at 12, 36 and 60 hours post-match. PPO decreased below baseline at 12 (Baseline 6100±565 vs. 12 h 5680±589 W; P=0.004) and 36 hours (5761±639 W; P<0.001), but had recovered at 60 hours (5950±505 W; P=0.151). Cortisol concentrations increased from baseline at 12 (Baseline 0.40±0.09 vs. 12 h 0.60±0.20 µg.dl; P=0.004) and 36 hours (0.60±0.20 µg.dl; P=0.027), but were similar at 60 hours post-match. Testosterone concentrations decreased from baseline at 12 (Baseline 214±84 vs. 12 h 151±56; P=0.023) and 36 hours (173±71; P=0.016), but were similar at 60 hours post-match. The T/C ratio decreased from baseline at 12 (Baseline 551±219 vs. 12 h 266±123; P=0.001) and 36 hours (310±148; P=0.027), before returning to baseline at 60 hours post-match. Mood disturbance increased at 12 hours (P=0.031), before returning to baseline at 36 and 60 hours post-match. There were no relationships between changes in PPO, testosterone, cortisol, T/C ratio and mood. In conclusion, post-match changes in NMF, salivary hormones and mood disturbance were identified in professional rugby union players. Players and coaches can expect reduced NMF and hormonal disruption for 36 hours before recovering at 60 hours post-match; with mood recovered by 36 hours post-match. Knowledge of these recovery time courses may prove useful for player training program design and post-match recovery strategies.

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    • "The BAM correlates well with the full versions of the POMS (Bourgeois, LeUnes, & Meyers, 2010; LeUnes & Burger, 2000), indicating that it holds a degree on concurrent validity with the original measure. Furthermore, it has been used successfully to monitor training stress alongside measures of cortisol (Perna, Antoni, Kumar, Cruess, & Schneiderman, 1998) and as an adjunct measure alongside neuromuscular fatigue (West et al., 2014). However, until now, the BAM's ability to function as a measure of recovery status has not been properly examined. "
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