The effect of acute fatigue on countermovement jump performance in rugby union players during preseason training

Rodney Kennedy, David Drake

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A countermovement jump (CMJ) is routinely used in many sporting settings to provide a functional measure of neuromuscular fatigue. However, the variables that are most sensitive to fatigue remain somewhat unclear (Gathercole, Sporer, Stellingwerff, and Sleivert, 2015, International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 10, 84–92). The aim of this study was to examine the usefulness of selected CMJ variables to monitor the post-exercise fatigue and recovery cycle. With institutional ethics approval, nine male academy rugby union players performed five CMJ trials on three occasions, at baseline, 24 h and 48 h post-baseline. The fatiguing protocol consisted of a typical intense training day during the preseason period (speed/skills training AM and resistance training PM). A total of 21 CMJ variables were derived from the force–time curve, 15 relating to output (CMJ-OUT) and 6 relating to the mechanics of the jump (CMJ-MEC). Data were analysed using a repeated measures one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc comparisons. There were no significant differences for any CMJ variable at the 24 h time point. At 48 h, three CMJ-MEC variables (eccentric duration, total duration and the force at zero velocity) demonstrated a significant decrement in performance when compared to baseline (P <0.05). Neuromuscular fatigue may manifest itself as an altered movement strategy rather than a simple reduction in physical output, when measured using a CMJ. Practitioners are therefore advised to incorporate CMJ-MEC variables when trying to identify subtle changes in the bimodal recovery pattern associated with stretch-shortening cycle induced fatigue. Such information may help with the prescription of optimal training loads, whilst attempting to avoid overtraining and injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)s44-s59
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Dec 2015


  • neuromuscular fatigue
  • countermovement jump
  • rugby union
  • preseason training
  • recovery


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