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


Unloading - a key component of Periodisation

To help plan a cycle of recovery with benefits occurring to all in a team setting the use of the concept of ‘unloading’ is useful. Unloading uses a deliberate recovery or unloading phase in the mesocycle (Zatiorsky and Kraemer, 2005). In simple terms, it is a period of time (e.g. a week or some days) where the training and practice volume is significantly reduced. Planning an unloading phase regularly into the programme is important. If this is not done, then overtraining can occur (Hakkinen et al, 1985). Thus, planned unloading weeks each month or after a 5-6 week mesocycle is recommended so that the player can reduce the number of training units during this unloading period and return to a more recovered and thus fitter state (Kraemer et al, 2003, Kraemer, 2008, Hennessy, 2011).

We will now take a brief look at the concept of tapering. This gives the coach a simple yet very effective method of ensuring that recovery takes place before an important game.