Variances In Strength And Conditioning Practice In Elite Rugby Union Between The Northern And Southern Hemispheres

Thomas Jones, Andrew Smith, Lindsay MacNaughton, Duncan French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The strength and conditioning (S&C) practices in elite Rugby Union (RU) have previously been detailed. There is also research which indicates playing styles can differ between Northern hemisphere (NH) and Southern hemisphere (SH) teams. It is not presently known if these variances in playing styles are reflected in the S&C practices of those supporting NH and SH teams. As such, the present study examines any variances in S&C practices between those supporting NH and SH elite level teams. A validated questionnaire was employed that comprised 7 sections; personal details, physical testing, strength and power development, concurrent training, unique aspects of the programme and any further relevant information regarding prescribed training programmes. Forty (20 NH, 20 SH, 38 male, 2 female; 33.0 +/- 5.5 y) of 52 (77%) coaches responded to the questionnaire. All practitioners worked with international level and/or professional RU athletes. The primary variances in S&C practice between NH and SH coaches included; utilization of differing tests of anaerobic capacity and cardiovascular endurance and differing prescription of compound and Olympic lifts. Also, NH coaches placed a greater emphasis on strength and power training while SH coaches had a more objective approach to determining strength training loads. Furthermore SH practitioners placed more emphasis on integration when compared with NH practitioners. Other aspects of S&C practice detailed in this article appear to be similar between Northern and Southern hemisphere practitioners. This research represents the only published survey to date of differing S&C practices in Northern and Southern hemisphere RU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3358-3371
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number12
Early online date20 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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