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LTPD Pathway
Functional Screening
Anatomical Adaptation
Game Demands
Conditioning for Rugby
Periodisation in Rugby


Rehydration and refuelling

Restoration of body fluids is a key part of any recovery strategy. Many rehydration experts recommend inclusion of sodium along with potassium in rehydration beverages (Maughan & Shirreffs, 1997). The volume to be consumed must exceed the volume lost in exercise and so the practice of weighing players before and after exercise is of benefit. Carbohydrates (sugar, glucose sport drinks) should be included in these beverages to provide immediate restoration of depleted muscle glycogen stores. Ivy (2008) notes that the timing of ingesting carbohydrates immediately after exercise is critical as opposed to waiting for hours. The immediate consumption of a carbohydrate snack (e.g. banana) or a carbohydrate-protein beverage (e.g. milk) or food (e.g. a chicken sandwich) will halt muscle tissue damage and initiate tissue repair as well as restoring important fuel to the muscles (Ivy, 2008).

Over and above the requirement to ensure good rehydration and refuelling nutritional strategies, it has become common practice to employ other acute recovery strategies in the belief that they will further enhance recovery. The common acute strategies used include:

  • Contrast water therapy - hot and cold contrast
  • Cold water or local cryotherapy therapy
  • Active recovery such as cycling
  • Wearing compression garments
  • Static stretching
  • Massage

We will look at the scientific evidence to examine whether such strategies are of benefit. However, where players are training or practising less than three times in a given week, then the requirement for such recovery strategies may not be as paramount as for those involved in full-time training for the game.