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


Recovery strategy summary

It is important to ensure that players rehydrate and refuel immediately following training, practice and match play. While opportunities exist for rehydration during exercise, the period immediately following exercise is a critical period for optimising rehydration, refuelling and repair of tissue damage.

For other acute recovery strategies, the Strength and Conditioning coach should assess the cost effectiveness of using any one or a combination of these. Further, if the players have sufficient time (between 2 and 3 days) between training and practice units as well as competition and training and practice, then the more demanding strategies such as contrast and cold therapies may not be required to affect enhanced recovery. Recall that the use of compression garments for up to 12 hours and engaging in a relatively short bout of active but low intensity exercise (such as cycling for 7 minutes) seem to be equally effective in speeding recovery. Of importance is the use of static stretching which may reduce the risk of a subsequent injury in the next training session. However, when match play occurs from week-to-week and during periods of frequent training and competition, then any one or a combination of recovery strategies may be effective. The Strength and Conditioning coach should also bear in mind the inter-individual preference for recovery strategy when planning such interventions.

As we will see in our discussion on Periodisation, ensuring that unload and tapering strategies are in place during the macrocycle seems to be a more powerful means of ensuring on-going recovery from training, practice and competition (Izquierdo et al, 2007, Hennessy, 2011). Further, sleep as a recovery method is less frequently emphasised for players. Recent studies highlight the importance of having adequate sleep each night in ensuring recovery from physical training (Carskadon, 2005, Mah et al, 2007).