Research Shows Pre-Season Hypoxic Training Improves Performance Of Rugby Players:
Researchers from London Southbank University, and Exeter University, both of which are located in the United Kingdom, recruited 42 advanced rugby players for the 4-week test. 3X a week they supplemented hypoxic sprint training for their speed training regimens. They then underwent performance tests after four weeks to see if there were anything changes in 6 second sprint performance.
What they found was that the highly trained rugby players were able to cover more distance during the 6 second sprint test. They also showed that there was lower speed decrement meaning they could sustain max anaerobic power during sprint slightly longer than the group of rugby players who were not subjected to the hypoxic protocol but rather a normoxic variant. All in all, this short pre-season protocol improved their sprint performance after hypoxic training.
From the Lab to Rugby Pitch Application
Based on the research, this type of training would be well suited pre-season. The protocol can be employed 3X per week for up to 4 weeks within your strength and conditioning programming and may replace standard field based speed sessions. Exceeding this time frame may actually hinder potential performance gains.
15-min of dynamic stretching and activation drills (2 sets 10 reps each of knee pulls, quad pulls, lunges, lateral lunges, skipping, and carioca drill)
3 x 20m max effort sprints with 3 minutes rest between sets (Mask off)
10 x 20m max effort sprints with 30 seconds rest between sets (Mask on)
Static stretch cool down if not performing other training (60s for hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, pririformis, calves, shoulders, chest, etc).
Faiss, R., Girard, O., & Millet, G. P. (2013). Advancing hypoxic training in team sports: from intermittent hypoxic training to repeated sprint training in hypoxia. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(Suppl_1), i45-i50.
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