Considerations in interpreting neuromuscular state in elite level Australian Rules football players

Dean Norris, David Joyce, Jason Siegler, Daniel Cohen, Ric Lovell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Examine the influence of test modality, season stage, match load and physical qualities on the interpretation of neuromuscular function (NF) post Australian Rules Football (ARF) matches. Design: Repeated measures design. Methods: Thirty-two elite ARF players’ NF was assessed 72 h following competitive matches (7 ± 2) via the counter movement jump (CMJ) and isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP). Influence of season stage, external load parameters (GPS; 10 Hz) and moderating influences of lower body strength (LBS), lower body power (LBP) and intermittent exercise capacity upon NF recovery were assessed using linear mixed effects models. Results: Moderate negative seasonal trends were evident for both rate of force development (RFD) 0−100 ms (d = −0.86, 95%, CI: ±0.57) and 0−200 ms (d = −0.76, CI: ±0.64). Significant but trivial effects of match load were observed between one standardised unit increase in high speed running (HSR) versus CMJ: Force at zero velocity (d = 0.12, CI: ±0.12), and sum of high intensity accelerations and CMJ: Eccentric deceleration RFD (d = −0.18, CI: ±0.14). Accounting for baseline LBS better explained (weight of evidence: W = 87%) seasonal trends observed in IMTP: peak force, with lower LBS showing greater capacity for improvement. Positive moderating influences were observed with baseline LBS and LBP (W = 91 & 75%) on CMJ: eccentric mean power responses to HSR, and CMJ: jump height responses to very-HSR, respectively. Conclusions: Interpretation of athlete NF responses is complicated by the inconsistent and interacting influence of contextual factors (assessment modality, stage of season, load), in-particular higher baseline LBS and LBP may improve acute load related responses of NF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-708
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • CMJ
  • IMTP
  • Neuromuscular function
  • Physical qualities
  • Team sports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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