chapter  7
The health benefits of rugby-specific small-sided games for sedentary populations
WithRob Duffield, Nicholas G. Allen, Amy E. Mendham
Pages 9

This chapter shows that football-specific soccer Small-Sided Games (SSG) training can provide comparable or better improvements than aerobic training in body composition, aerobic capacity, capillary density and fiber type, which are all known to influence glucose regulation. Consequently, SSG training in sedentary men is an effective method to improve glucose control and reduce estimated insulin sensitivity in response to a standard glucose load. Small-sided games training combine multiple fitness components to deliver glucose regulatory, inflammatory and body composition adaptations that are superior to both running and cycling. The superior physiological adaptations in the SSG conditions may be due to the metabolic effect of intermittent-over continuous-based modes in sedentary populations. The differences in characteristics between SSG and CYC are likely to have positive effects on differential aspects of inflammatory and glucose regulation. Regardless, rugby and other football-based SSG can be considered evidenced-based exercise modes to prescribe to sedentary populations to promote improvements in physical health.