Int J Sports Med 2013; 34(12): 1087-1092
DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1333720
Training & Testing
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Effect of a Training Week on Heart Rate Variability in Elite Youth Rugby League Players

R. C. Edmonds
1   Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
W. H. Sinclair
1   Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
A. S. Leicht
1   Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 03 January 2013

Publication Date:
05 June 2013 (online)


The aim of this study was to examine the influence of weekly training including a competitive game on heart rate (HR) variability (HRV). Youth players (n=9, age 17–20 years) were monitored during daily supine rest (10 min) and standing (8 min), 5 times over 8 days. Heart rate recordings were analysed for time domain, frequency (e. g. low frequency [LF], high frequency [HF]) domain and non-linear measures of HRV and compared using ANOVA or Friedman’s tests. Relationships between HRV and training workloads were examined via Spearman rank rho (ρ) correlation coefficients. Prior to a game, mean HR was significantly increased and remained elevated until 2 days post-game while parasympathetic modulations (HF) were significantly reduced (p<0.05). The supine to standing change in HRV was significantly reduced for up to 4 days post-game (LF/HF ratio, − 1.0±2.9 vs. − 3.0±1.9, p<0.05). These results confirm that prior to a game, players exhibited reduced parasympathetic and/or predominant sympathetic modulation with the game significantly reducing autonomic responses to standing for up to the following 4 days. Identification of day to day fluctuations in HRV may provide a helpful tool for monitoring player workload to maximise training and game performance.

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