The effect of acute fatigue on countermovement jump performance in rugby union players during preseason

Rodney Kennedy, David Drake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
629 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: A countermovement jump (CMJ) is routinely used in many sporting settings to provide a functional measure of neuromuscular fatigue. However, the variables that are most sensitive to fatigue remain somewhat unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine the acute changes in neuromuscular fatigue in rugby union players during a period of preseason training. METHODS: Nine male (age: 19.0 ± 1.5 years) academy rugby union players performed five CMJ trials on three occasions, at baseline, 24 hours and 48 hours post-baseline. The fatiguing protocol consisted of multiple high-intensity training sessions commensurate with the period of preparation and the sport. A total of 14 CMJ variables were derived from the force-time curve. Meaningful differences in CMJ performance were examined using the magnitude of change (effect sizes; ES) compared to baseline. RESULTS: Most variables, 9 of the 14, showed substantial decreases at 24 hours post-baseline. Mean concentric power, peak velocity, jump height and force at zero velocity were impaired by the greatest magnitude (ES = -0.98 to -1.57). At 48 hours post-baseline, substantial increases in eccentric duration, concentric duration and total duration were first observed (ES = 0.48 to 0.61). Concomitantly, peak power, peak velocity and jump height, recovered to baseline levels.CONCLUSION: During the late regeneration phase, neuromuscular fatigue can manifest itself as an altered movement strategy, rather than as a simple reduction in physical output such as jump height. Practitioners are therefore advised to incorporate a wide range of variables when trying to identify subtle changes in the bimodal recovery pattern associated with stretch-shortening cycle induced fatigue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1266
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number10
Early online date13 Jan 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Reference text: 1. Bigland-Ritchie B, Woods JJ. Changes in muscle contraction properties and neural control during human muscular fatigue. Muscle & Nerve. 1984; 7(9):691-9. [PubMed: 6100456]
2. Gandevia SC, Enoka RM, McComas AJ, Stuart DG, Thomas CK, editors. Fatigue: Neural and Muscular Mechanisms. New York: Plenum Press; 1996.
3. Cairns SP, Knicker AJ, Thompson MW, Sjogaard G. Evaluation of models used to study neuromuscular fatigue. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2005; 33(1):9-16. [PubMed: 15640715]
4. Gathercole R, Sporer B, Stellingwerff T, Sleivert G. Alternative countermovement jump analysis to quantify acute neuromuscular fatigue. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2015; 10(1):84-92. [PubMed: 24912201]
5. Nicol C, Avela J, Komi PV. The stretch-shortening cycle: A model to study naturally occurring neuromuscular fatigue. Sports Med. 2006; 36(11):977-99. [PubMed: 17052133]
6. Girard O, Millet GP. Neuromuscular fatigue in racquet sports. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2009; 20(1):161-73. [PubMed: 19084769]
7. Taylor KL, Cronin J, Gill ND, Chapman DW, Sheppard J. Sources of variability in iso-inertial jump assessments. Int J Sport Physiol Perform. 2010; 5(4):546-58. [PubMed: 21266738]
8. Andersson H, Raastad T, Nilsson J, Paulsen G, Garthe I, Kadi F. Neuromuscular fatigue and recovery in elite female soccer: Effects of active recovery. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008; 40(2):372-80. [PubMed: 18202563]
9. Johnston RD, Gibson NV, Twist C, Gabbett TJ, MacNay SA, MacFarlane NG. Physiological responses to an intensified period of rugby league competition. J Strength Cond Res. 2013; 27(3):643-54. [PubMed: 22592168]
10. Gathercole RJ, Stellingwerff T, Sporer B. Effect of acute fatigue and training adaptation on countermovement jump performance in elite snowboard cross athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2015; 29(1):37-46. [PubMed: 25029001]
11. Cormack SJ, Newton RU, McGuigan MR, Doyle TLA. Reliability of measures obtained during single and repeated countermovement jumps. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2008; 3(2):131-44. [PubMed: 19208922]
12. Palmer-Green DS, Stokes KA, Fuller CW, England M, Kemp SPT, Trewartha G. Training activities and injuries in English youth academy and schools rugby union. Am J Sports Med. 2015; 43(2):475-81. [PubMed: 25512663]
13. Freitas VH, Nakamura FY, Miloski B, Samulski D, Bara-Filho MG. Sensitivity of physiological and psychological markers to training load intensification in volleyball players. J Sport Sci Med. 2014; 13(3):571-9. [PubMed: 25177184]
14. Buchheit M, Racinais S, Bilsborough JC, Bourdon PC, Voss SC, Hocking J, et al. Monitoring fitness, fatigue and running performance during a pre-season training camp in elite football players. J Sci Med Sport. 2013; 16(6):550-5. [PubMed: 23332540]
15. Argus CK, Gill N, Keogh J, Hopkins WG, Beaven CM. Effects of a short-term pre-season training programme on the body composition and anaerobic performance of professional rugby union players. J Sports Sci. 2010; 28(6):679-86. [PubMed: 20397095]
16. Foster C. Monitoring training in athletes with reference to overtraining syndrome. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998; 30(7):1164-8. [PubMed: 9662690]
17. Street G, McMillan S, Board W, Rasmussen M, Heneghan JM. Sources of error in determining countermovement jump height with the impulse method. J Appl Biomech. 2001; 17(1):43-54.
18. Gathercole R, Sporer B, Stellingwerff T. Countermovement jump performance with increased training loads in elite female rugby athletes. Int J Sports Med. 2015; 36(9):722-8. [PubMed: 25831403]
19. Hopkins WG, Marshall SW, Batterham AM, Hanin J. Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009; 41(1):3-12. [PubMed: 19092709]
20. Batterham AM, Hopkins WG. Making meaningful inferences about magnitudes. Int J Sport Physiol Perform. 2006; 1(1):50-7. [PubMed: 19114737]
21. Killen NM, Gabbett TJ, Jenkins DG. Training loads and incidence of injury during the preseason in professional rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res. 2010; 24(8):2079-84. [PubMed: 20613646]
22. MacIntyre DL, Reid WD, Lyster DM, Szasz IJ, McKenzie DC. Presence of WBC, decreased strength, and delayed soreness in muscle after eccentric exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1996; 80(3):1006-13. [PubMed: 8964718]
23. Dousset E, Avela J, Ishikawa M, Kallio J, Kuitunen S, Kyrolainen H, et al. Bimodal recovery pattern in human skeletal muscle induced by exhaustive stretch-shortening cycle exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007; 39(3):453-60. [PubMed: 17473771]
24. Cormack SJ, Newton RU, McGuigan MR, Cormie P. Neuromuscular and endocrine responses of elite players during an Australian rules football season. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2008; 3(4):439-53. [PubMed: 19223670]
25. McLellan CP, Lovell DI, Gass GC. Markers of postmatch fatigue in professional rugby league players J Strength Cond Res. 2011; 25(4):1030-9. [PubMed: 20703169]
26. Knicker AJ, Renshaw I, Oldham ARH, Cairns SP. Interactive processes link the multiple symptoms of fatigue in sport competition. Sports Med. 2011; 41(4):307-28. [PubMed: 21425889]
27. McBride JM, Snyder JG. Mechanical efficiency and force-time curve variation during repetitive jumping in trained and untrained jumpers. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012; 112(10):3469-77. [PubMed: 22294292]
28. Rodacki ALF, Fowler NE, Bennett SJ. Vertical jump coordination: fatigue effects. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002; 34(1):105-16. [PubMed: 11782655]
29. Davids K, Glazier P, Araujo D, Bartlett R. Movement systems as dynamical systems: the functional role of variability and its implications for sports medicine. Sports Med. 2003; 33(4):245-60. [PubMed: 12688825]
30. Cormack SJ, Newton RU, McGuigan MR. Neuromuscular and endocrine responses of elite players to an Australian rules football match. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2008; 3(3):359-74. [PubMed: 19211947]
31. Gathercole RJ, Sporer B, Stellingwerff T, Sleivert G. Comparison of the capacity of different jump and sprint field tests to detect neuromuscular fatigue. J Strength Cond Res. 2015; 29(9):2522-31. [PubMed: 26308829]
32. Mooney M, Cormack S, O'Brien B, Morgan W, McGuigan M. Impact of neuromuscular fatigue on match exercise intensity and performance in elite Australian football. J Strength Cond Res. 2013; 27(1):166-73. [PubMed: 22395264]
33. Aughey RJ. Applications of GPS technologies to field sports. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2011; 6(3):295-310. [PubMed: 21911856]
34. Mooney M, O'Brien B, Cormack S, Coutts A, Berry J, Young W. The relationship between physical capacity and match performance in elite Australian football: a mediation approach. J Sci Med Sport. 2011; 14(5):447-52. [PubMed: 21530392]
35. Windt J, Gabbett TJ, Ferris D, Khan KM. Training load-injury paradox: is greater preseason participation associated with lower in-season injury risk in elite rugby league players. Br J Sports Med. 2016:1-7. [PubMed: 27075963]. Epub 13th April.
36. Brooks JHM, Fuller CW, Kemp SPT, Reddin DB. Epidemiology of injuries in English professional rugby union: part 2 training Injuries. Br J Sports Med. 2005; 39(10):767-75. [PubMed: 16183775]
37. Hulin BT, Gabbett TJ, Blanch P, Chapman P, Bailey D, Orchard JW. Spikes in acute workload are associated with increased injury risk in elite cricket fast bowlers. Br J Sports Med. 2014; 48(8):708-12. [PubMed: 23962877]
38. Hulin BT, Gabbett TJ, Lawson DW, Caputi P, Sampson JA. The acute:chronic workload ratio predicts injury: high chronic workload may decrease injury risk in elite rugby league players. Br J Sports Med. 2016; 50(4):231-6. [PubMed: 26511006]
39. Blanch P, Gabbett TJ. Has the athlete trained enough to return to play safely? The acute: chronic workload ratio permits clinicians to quantify a player's risk of subsequent injury. Br J Sports Med. 2016; 50(8):471-5. [PubMed: 26701923]
40. West DJ, Owen NJ, Jones MR, Bracken RM, Cook CJ, Cunningham DJ, et al. Relationships between force-time characterisitics of the isometric midthigh pull and dynamic performance in professional rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res. 2011; 25(11):3070-5. [PubMed: 21993026]


  • exercise
  • fatigue
  • movement
  • workload


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of acute fatigue on countermovement jump performance in rugby union players during preseason'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this