172 beats . min(-1) (93% of maximal heart rate) have been recorded for amateur, semi-professionaland junior elite rugby league players respectively. Skill-based conditioning games have been usedto develop the skill and fitness of rugby league players, with mean heart rate and blood lactateresponses during these activities almost identical to those obtained during competition. In addition,recent studies have shown that most training injuries are sustained in traditional conditioningactivities that involve no skill component (i.e. running without the ball), whereas the incidence of injuries while participating in skill-based conditioning games is low. Collaborative research amongthe various sport science disciplines is required to identify strategies to reduce the incidence of injury and enhance the performance of rugby league players. An understanding of the movement patterns and physiological demands of different positions at all standards of competition wouldallow the development of strength and conditioning programmes to meet the precise requirementsof these positions. Finally, studies investigating the impact of improvements in physiologicalcapacities (including the effect of different strength and conditioning programmes) on rugby league playing performance are warranted.: J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Aug;21(3):875-81.LinksPhysiological and anthropometric characteristics of elite women rugby league players.Gabbett TJ.Athlete and Coach Support Services, Queensland Academy of Sport, Queensland, Australia.firstname.lastname@example.orgThis study investigated the physiological and anthropometric characteristics of elite womenrugby league players and developed physical performance standards for these athletes. Thirty-twoelite women rugby league players underwent measurements of standard anthropometry (body mass,height, sum of 7 skinfolds), muscular power (vertical jump), speed (10-, 20-, and 40-m sprint),agility (505 test), glycolytic capacity (glycolytic agility test), and estimated maximal aerobic power (multistage fitness test). The skinfold thickness, speed, agility, vertical jump height, glycolyticcapacity, and estimated maximal aerobic power results were 6.0-38.1% poorer than previouslyreported for elite women team sport athletes (e.g., rugby union, soccer, and hockey). Although nosignificant differences (p > 0.05) were detected between selected and nonselected players for any of the physiological or anthropometric characteristics, significant differences (p < 0.05) were detected between forwards and backs for body mass, skinfold thickness, 10-, 20-, and 40-m speed, andestimated maximal aerobic power. When data were analyzed according to positional similarities, itwas found that the hit-up forwards positional group were heavier, had greater skinfold thickness,and had lower 10-, 20-, and 40-m speed, muscular power, glycolytic capacity, and estimatedmaximal aerobic power than the adjustables and outside backs positional groups. The results of thisstudy show that elite women rugby league players have slower speed and agility, lower muscular power, glycolytic capacity, and estimated maximal aerobic power, and greater body mass andskinfold thickness than previously reported for other elite women team sport athletes. Thesefindings show the need to develop all physiological parameters to allow elite women rugby league players to more effectively tolerate the physiological demands of competition, reduce fatigue-related errors in skill execution, and decrease the risk of injury.