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The relative contribution of training intensity and duration to daily measures of training load in professional rugby league and union

Weaving, Dan; Dalton-Barron, Nicholas; McLaren, Shaun; Scantlebury, Sean; Cummins, Cloe; Roe, Gregory; Jones, Ben; Beggs, Clive; Abt, Grant


Dan Weaving

Nicholas Dalton-Barron

Shaun McLaren

Sean Scantlebury

Cloe Cummins

Gregory Roe

Ben Jones

Clive Beggs

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Dr Grant Abt
Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology and Head of Department for Sport, Health and Exercise Science


This study examined the relative contribution of exercise duration and intensity to team-sport athlete’s training load. Male, professional rugby league (n = 10) and union (n = 22) players were monitored over 6- and 52-week training periods, respectively. Whole-session (load) and per-minute (intensity) metrics were monitored (league: session rating of perceived exertion training load [sRPE-TL], individualised training impulse, total distance, BodyLoadTM; union: sRPE-TL, total distance, high- speed running distance, PlayerLoadTM). Separate principal component analyses were conducted on the load and intensity measures to consolidate raw data into principal components (PC, k = 4). The first load PC captured 70% and 74% of the total variance in the rugby league and rugby union datasets, respectively.. Multiple linear regression subsequently revealed that session duration explained 73% and 57% of the variance in first load PC, respectively, while the four intensity PCs explained an additional 24% and 34%, respectively. Across two professional rugby training programmes, the majority of the variability in training load measures was explained by session duration (~60–70%), while a smaller proportion was explained by session intensity (~30%). When modelling the training load, training intensity and duration should be disaggregated to better account for their between-session variability.

Journal Article Type Article
Journal Journal of sports sciences
Print ISSN 0264-0414
Electronic ISSN 1466-447X
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-8
APA6 Citation Weaving, D., Dalton-Barron, N., McLaren, S., Scantlebury, S., Cummins, C., Roe, G., …Abt, G. (in press). The relative contribution of training intensity and duration to daily measures of training load in professional rugby league and union. Journal of sports sciences, 1-8.
Keywords Training load; Principal component analysis; Time series; Rugby
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope: http://www.tandfonline....ope&journalCode=rjsp20; Accepted: 2020-03-23; Published: 2020-04-21