The Bath University rugby shuttle test (BURST): A pilot study

Simon Roberts, Keith A Stokes, L Weston, Grant Trewartha

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Purpose: This study presents an exercise protocol utilizing movement patterns specific to rugby union forward and assesses the reproducibility of scores from this test.
Methods: After habituation, eight participants (mean +/- SD: age = 21 +/- 3 y, height = 180 +/- 4 cm, body mass = 83.9 +/- 3.9 kg) performed the Bath University Rugby Shuttle Test (BURST) on two occasions, 1 wk apart. The protocol comprised 16 x 315-s cycles (4 x 21-min blocks) of 20-m shuttles of walking and cruising with 10-m jogs, with simulated scrummaging, rucking, or mauling exercises and standing rests. In the last minute of every 315-s cycle, a timed Performance Test was carried out, involving carrying a tackle bag and an agility sprint with a ball, followed by a 25-s recovery and a 15-m sprint.
Results: Participants traveled 7078 m, spending 79.8 and 20.2% of time in low- and high-intensity activity, respectively. The coefficients of variation (CV) between trials 1 and 2 for mean time on the Performance Test (17.78 +/- 0.71 vs 17.58 +/- 0.79 s) and 15-m sprint (2.69 +/- 0.15 vs 2.69 +/- 0.15 s) were 1.3 and 0.9%, respectively. There was a CV of 2.2% between trials 1 and 2 for mean heart rate (160 +/- 5 vs 158 +/- 5 beats.min(-1)) and 14.4% for blood lactate (4.41 +/- 1.22 vs 4.68 +/- 1.68 mmol.L-1).
Conclusion: Results suggest that measures of rugby union-specific high-intensity exercise performed during the BURST were reproducible over two trials in habituated participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • high intensity
  • performance
  • intermittent
  • rugby union


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