“The Fittest Sport” series is sponsored by? Weasel Sports & Entertainment
It is an age-old source of debate among athletes, pundits and fans alike. But, after much research, we at Pledge Sports are providing a definitive answer to the almost impossible question: “Which sport is the fittest?”
It is important to note, by “best fit” we are not only referring to an athlete’s general fitness level, but of all the ability, fitness and skill required for their sport.
For example, a marathon runner runs 26 miles per event, but a soccer player runs an average of 7 miles per game—including sprints, constant changes of direction, tactical awareness, physically battling opponents, dribbling, and hitting a ball. kicking is involved. Comparing skill sets is an unfair competition.
In our seven-part series on The Fittest Sport, we take each individual sport and provide an in-depth analysis of what makes particular athletes more fit than the rest. We have analyzed:
There has been a huge increase in fitness in rugby over the past fifty years. Gone are the days of the lighter back, and overweight front row.
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Nowadays, your typical elite rugby player will be lean, muscular and exceptionally fit, regardless of their position on the teamsheet.
according to a study by health 24, The weight of elite rugby players has exceeded 10kg in the last half-century. This is a direct result of new generations of rugby players all working towards a synchronization of the two main physical aspects – power and power.
In addition, the game itself requires an extremely high level of talent and skill, and it is possible most physically demanding sport out there.
For 80 minutes each player must be mentally active and tactfully aware, must have perfect hand-eye coordination to give and receive passes at high speed, must be intelligent and decisive in their movements, And they have to endure the opposing athletes. Tackle and fight the same stature for each ball during the game.
A top level player now requires brute strength, speed, intelligence, skill and toughness, along with serious endurance.
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Matt Middleton, strength and conditioning guru and former coach of Bath Rugby, said: “Players work on maximum strength, power, size, speed, strength, agility, anaerobic and aerobic endurance.”
Different positions require emphasis when it comes to gym work, but all players need explosive power and speed to compete at the sport’s highest level.
Nowadays, there’s no use being a sly behemoth if you’re going slow like a windbreak. Modern rugby is an era of dynamic all-rounders.
“Players mix speed endurance with short rest through repeated intervals along with short sprint work.
“The fastest players can run 10 meters in 1.6 seconds and 30 meters in 3.9 seconds. It’s fast. For perspective, Usain Bolt ran the first 10 meters in 1.89 seconds during his 100m time of 9.58. According to Middleton, at 30 meters, he clocked 3.78 seconds.
This explosiveness is inspired by extreme fitness. The gold standard in measuring the fitness of athletes is through measuring their maximum oxygen intake (VO2 max).
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According to the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the average fit male adult’s VO2 max will be around 40-45 ml/kg/min.
For top level rugby players, you can expect a VO2 max of anything between 60 – 70 ml/kg/min, which is comparable to that of an elite long distance runner compared to other athletes at the top of their game. are equal.
But, if a rugby player and a long distance runner have the same VO2 max, why is only one of them on our list?
It’s really simple. While long-distance runners are theoretically very fit, the challenges of their sport don’t go much beyond running in a modest straight line.
Nevertheless, in rugby, the fitness of a long-distance runner is essential because when they are not running 26 miles, they can perform bursts of speed, quick changes in direction and carry an average impact of 25G, and very consistent tackle. are attached to.
According to a study by Doug King, a specialist nurse in Wellington, New Zealand, this has come to the fore. In 2013, he analyzed players from the Hutt Old Boys Marist Rugby Club in Wellington.
If you’re looking for context, your average rollercoaster has about 3-4G of force, while an Air Force One fighter jet has 9G of barrel roll. The force is stronger with rugby.
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What do experts say
During his career, Gordon D’Arcy formed one of the most formidable partnerships in world rugby with Brian O’Driscoll. The pair made appearances together 55 times for Ireland, and several more times for Leinster.
D’Arcy was a key member of one of the most successful Leinster and Irish teams of all time, winning three Heineken Cups, four Leagues and one Challenge Cup with his province, as well as two Six Nations trophies (including the 2009 Grand Slam). ) also won. Traveling on tours of their country and two lions.
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D’Arcy’s knowledge of rugby and understanding of the physical demands of the modern game is second to none.
“For me, rugby players are the fittest athletes who blend together a variety of disciplines like strength, endurance, tactical nuance, skill and mental flexibility. With long play the ball, crossing between anaerobic and aerobic expenditure and then throwing in physical contact to sap that last bit of available energy.
“When players are exposed to this unique lactic acid and collision-induced environment, they are expected to make strong decisions to influence the outcome of the game. Whoever blinks first loses,” said D’Arcy .
We find it hard to disagree, don’t we?
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