Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2018) 17, 633 - 639

Research article
Heart Rate-Index Estimates Oxygen Uptake, Energy Expenditure and Aerobic Fitness in Rugby Players
Alessandro L. Colosio1,2, Anna Pedrinolla1, Giorgio Da Lozzo1,2, Silvia Pogliaghi1,2, 
Author Information
1 Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Italy
2 Rugby Research Centre, University of Verona, Italy

Silvia Pogliaghi
✉Department of Neurosciences, Biomedicine and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Italy
Publish Date
Received: 21-06-2018
Accepted: 25-09-2018
Published (online): 20-11-2018
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The purpose of the study was to verify the suitability of heart rate-index (HRindex) in predicting submaximal oxygen consumption (VO2), energy expenditure (EE) and maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) during treadmill running in rugby players. Fifteen professional rugby players (99.8 ± 12.7 kg, 1.85 ± 0.09 m) performed a running incremental test while VO2 (breath-by-breath) and heart rate (HR) were measured. HRindex was calculated (actual HR/resting HR) to predict submaximal and maximal VO2 ({[(HRindex x 6)-5.0] x (3.5 body weight)}) and EE. Measured and predicted VO2 and EE were compared by two-way RM-ANOVA (method, speed), correlation and Bland-Altman analysis. Measured and predicted VO2max were compared by paired t-test, correlation and Bland-Altman analysis. Submaximal VO2 and EE significantly increased (baseline VO2: 8.1 ± 1.6 ml·kg-1·min-1 VO2max: 46.8 ± 4.3 ml·kg-1·min-1, baseline EE: 0.03 ± 0.01 kcal·kg-1·min-1, peak EE: 0.23 ± 0.03 kcal·kg-1·min-1) as a function of speed (p < 0.001 and p < 0.001 for VO2 and EE respectively) yet measured and predicted values at equal treadmill speeds were not significantly different (p = 0.17; p = 0.16) and highly correlated (r = 0.95; r = 0.94). The Bland-Altman analysis confirmed a non-significant bias between measured and estimated VO2 (measured: 40.3 ± 10.7, estimated: 40.7 ± 10.1 ml·kg-1·min-1, bias = 1.35 ml·kg-1·min-1, z = 1.12, precision = 3.39 ml·kg-1·min-1) and EE (measured: 20.0 ± 0.05 kcal·kg-1·min-1, estimated: 20.0 ± 0.05 kcal·kg-1·min-1, bias = 0.00 kcal·kg-1·min-1, z = 0.04, precision = 0.02 kcal·kg-1·min-1). Estimated and predicted VO2max were not statistically different (p = 0.91), highly correlated (r = 0.96), and showed a non-significant bias (bias = 0.17, z = 0.22, precision = 1.29 ml·kg-1·min-1). HRindex is a valid field method to track VO2, EE and VO2max during running in rugby players.

Key words: Rugby union, cardiorespiratory fitness, sports medicine, game demands

           Key Points
  • HR-index/METs relationship is valid in highly trained individuals.
  • HR-index estimates oxygen uptake and energy expenditure in rugby players during running.
  • HR-index could also allow indirect estimations of athletes’ maximal oxygen uptake at an individual or group level.
  • The main advantages of this method are: i) low costs and minimal staff training requirements ii) time efficiency iii) the possibility to obtain time-resolved EE estimates with daily frequency iv) applicability during matches/training.
  • Within the limitation of HR methods, HR-index could give insight into the energetic demands of rugby.
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