Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports

Cover image for Vol. 26 Issue 5

Edited By: Stephen Harridge

Impact Factor: 2.896

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 11/81 (Sport Sciences)

Online ISSN: 1600-0838

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Spinal muscle activity in simulated rugby union scrummaging is affected by different engagement conditions

The rugby union scrum is a formidable challenge to front row players and as a consequence the scrum has under gone a number of rule changes, most recently from a “crouch-touch-set” to a “crouch-bind-set” procedure, in an attempt to improve safety by making less of an emphasis on the initial impact of the scrum engagement.    Biomechanical studies of scrummaging have focused on kinetic and kinematic analyses, but an understating of the activation patterns of the trunk muscles may provide new insights for the optimisation of training and rehabilitation programs in regard to injury prevention.  In a study by Cazzola and colleagues published in this issue of SJMSS the activation strategies of the spinal muscles were analysed in regard to both training machine and live scrums.  Nine male front-row forwards scrummaged as individuals against a scrum machine and against a two-player opposition in a simulated live condition.  Activities of the sternocleidomastoid, upper trapezius, and erector spinae were measured over the pre-engagement, engagement, and sustained-push phases.   The results of the study suggest that the pre-bind, prior to engagement, may  prepare the cervical spine by stiffening joints before the impact phase.  Interestingly,  machine scrummaging does not appear to replicate the muscular demands of live scrummaging as evidenced by significantly higher activities of the erector spinae muscle in the live compared to the machine conditions.  These data suggest that players need to practice in live situations if they want to improve the specificity of their neuromuscular activation strategies during scrummaging.

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The December issue marks 25 years of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Sciences in Sports. It is also its final printed issue as from 2016 it will published monthly as an online only journal. Appropriately, this issue features two special supplements. The first is the proceedings of the Saltin Symposium: Exercise and Integrative Physiology which was held in Copenhagen earlier this year to celebrate the life and work of Professor Bengt Saltin, the first editor of SJMSS. The second is Bengt’s final review, co-written with Bente Pedersen on Exercise as Medicine. We hope that this issue serves as both a celebration of 25 years of SJMSS and a fitting tribute to Bengt Saltin’s outstanding contribution to exercise science and medicine.

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