Training Periodization Over an Elite Rugby Sevens Season: From Theory to Practice

Marrier, B.; Le Meur, Y.; Leduc, C.; Piscione, J.; Lacome, M.; Igarza, G.; Hausswirth, C.; Morin, J.-B.; Robineau, J.

The purpose of this study was to describe the training periodization of Rugby-7s players competing in the Sevens World Series during a non-Olympic season.

Data on workload were collected over a 33-week period from twelve male players participating in a full competitive season. Workload was quantified using session RPE and GPS-derived data during both training and competition, while self-reported wellbeing was assessed using a questionnaire. The analysis was conducted weekly and across 5 mesocycles: Pre-season, In-season 1-4, each ending with competition blocks.

The results showed a decrease in perceived load throughout the season for the full squad, with a significant reduction between the pre-season and the final competitive block. Weekly perceived load exhibited high variability, with a typical periodization observed in 4 phases during each mesocycle: regeneration, training overload, taper, and competition. During the pre-season, workload was higher during the overload training phase compared to the competitive period, but this trend did not persist during the in-season. The wellbeing score decreased notably from In-3 onwards.

These findings suggest that maintaining high-load training periods throughout the season in Sevens World Series players is challenging, despite having approximately 4-7 training weeks separating each competitive block. This difficulty may be attributed to factors such as the risk of contact injury, the demanding calendar, multiple long-haul travels, and potentially limited squad rotation policies.

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