The effect of complex training on horizontal power production in rugby union players : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at Massey University
The use of strength and power training regimes is common place among elite and recreational athletes. However, the application of such methods as direct determinants of improvement in sporting performance is a controversial and much debated topic because the degree of transfer from the training exercise to the sporting application is unknown. In recent years combining strength and sport specific training methods into one training session (complex training) has been promoted as a method to enhance training transfer. The purpose of this project was to examine the effect of complex training on horizontal power production in rugby players. 9 participants completed two four week phases of training (complex and standard) in a randomized order. Participant performance in 5RM squat, horizontal force and horizontal power was tested prior to and at the end of each training phase. A number of significant improvements were observed following complex training: maximum slope of the horizontal force curve increased by 12.29 ±33.59%, maximum power increased by 15.13 ±7.49%, width of the power curve increased by 28.30 ±18.16%, and maximum velocity during the horizontal power test improved by 20.63 ±14.21%. The improvements were significantly different from the respective standard training measures (p ≤.05). It is concluded that power gains were a product of an enhanced ability to produce force at higher velocities. No significant weight gain or significant improvement in 5RM force production was associated with the improvement in maximum power. Therefore it is inferred that neural mechanisms accounted for the difference following complex training. The results presented here suggest that complex training not only improves horizontal power production but also transfers performance improvements to an untrained task by improving the rate of force development in the horizontal force condition. It appears that the complex training regime has in some way created a persistent change in the control mechanisms regulating the performance of both the horizontal strength and power conditions.