Pre- and post-game body mass changes during an international rugby tournament: a practical perspective
Meir, RA & Halliday, AJ 2005, 'Pre- and post-game body mass changes during an international rugby tournament: a practical perspective', The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 19, no.3, pp. 713-716.
Pre- and post-game body mass changes were recorded throughout an international rugby union tournament to determine changes in body mass when training and competing on consecutive days. A squad of 28 players with a mean (±SD) age of 20.0 yrs (±0.6), height of 1.85 m (±0.1) and body mass of 94.71 kg (±10.71) were selected to play for England and to participate in an international championship in Sydney, Australia. From the squad, 22 players played in 1 or more of 4 games over a 10-day period from the day of the first match to the day of the last match. Data were collected for a total of 84 player appearances across the 4 games. Players had their body masses recorded prior to leaving England, upon arrival in Australia, and pre- and post-game during the tournament. Players were allowed to ingest fluid ad libitum throughout each match. The mean (±SD) ambient temperature and relative humidity across all games was 18.5°C (±1.63) and 39.5% (±17.7), respectively. Pre- and post-game comparisons of body masses for all player appearances were significantly different (p < 0.00), representing a mean loss of 0.94 kg (±0.94). However, there was no significant difference between games or player position (forwards vs. backs). The results demonstrate that if appropriate hydration practices are implemented, they may reduce the compound effect of fluid loss when playing multiple games in a short period of time. Strategies include daily monitoring of body mass and fluid intake and educating players about the importance of fluid intake to recovery and subsequent performance when playing and training on consecutive days.