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Body Mass and Body Composition Changes over 7 Years in a Male Professional Rugby Union Team

McHugh, C. and Hind, K. and O'Halloran, A. and Davey, D. and Farrell, G. and Wilson, F. (2021) 'Body Mass and Body Composition Changes over 7 Years in a Male Professional Rugby Union Team.', International Journal of Sports Medicine .


The purpose of this study was to investigate longitudinal body mass and body composition changes in one professional rugby union team (n=123), (i) according to position [forwards (n=58) versus backs (n=65)], analysis of players with 6 consecutive seasons of DXA scans (n=21) and, (iii) to examine differences by playing status [academy and international], over 7 years. Players [mean age: 26.8 y, body mass index: 28.9+kg.m2] received DXA scans at fourtime points within each year. A modest (but non-significant) increase in mean total mass (0.8 kg) for professional players was reflected by increased lean mass and reduced body fat mass. At all-time points, forwards had a significantly greater total mass, lean mass and body fat percentage compared to backs (p<0.05). Academy players demonstrated increased total and lean mass and decreased body fat percentage over the first 3 years of senior rugby, although this was not significant. Senior and academy international players had greater lean mass and lower body fat percentage (p<0.05) than non-international counterparts. Despite modest increases in total mass; reflected by increased lean mass and reduced fat mass, no significant changes in body mass or body composition, irrespective of playing position were apparent over 7 years.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2021. Thieme. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:22 February 2021
Date deposited:16 September 2021
Date of first online publication:30 April 2021
Date first made open access:30 April 2022

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