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A Brief Review of Methods to Quantify High-Speed Running in Rugby League: Are Current Methods Appropriate?

Bennett, Tom; Marshall, Phil; Barrett, Steve; Malone, James; McLaren-Towlson, Christopher


Tom Bennett

Steve Barrett

James Malone


High-speed running (HSR) has been documented within rugby league to differentiate playing standard, position and often precedes pivotal match events. Practitioners and researchers place importance on HSR due to its inclusion in assessing the demands of training and match-play to help prescribe accurate training loads and recovery methods. High-speed running can be quantified in absolute terms whereby the same threshold speed is applied to all players (e.g., 5.0m∙s-1). Within rugby league, differences in tactical demand, anthropometric and physical fitness characteristics exist between positions and players, suggesting that absolute HSR thresholds may not be appropriate due to under and over estimations of HSR data. Alternatively, practitioners may individualize the threshold speed to individual players physical qualities such as peak sprint speed, maximal aerobic speed (MAS) or the speed at which the ventilatory thresholds occur. Individualizing HSR warrants the practitioner to select a valid and practical test to quantify the HSR threshold speed. It is suggested that using peak sprint speed to quantify HSR can produce erroneous interpretation of HSR data whilst the practicality of specific physiological derived thresholds can be questioned. Implementing MAS to quantify HSR using a set time/distance trial may be the most appropriate approach for rugby league practitioners.


Bennett, T., Marshall, P., Barrett, S., Malone, J., & McLaren-Towlson, C. (2021). A Brief Review of Methods to Quantify High-Speed Running in Rugby League: Are Current Methods Appropriate?. Strength and conditioning journal,

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 11, 2021
Publication Date Nov 11, 2021
Deposit Date Nov 26, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 12, 2022
Journal Strength and Conditioning Journal
Print ISSN 1524-1602
Publisher Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Global Positioning Systems, Individualized, Maximal Aerobic Speed, Metabolic Power, Training Load
Public URL