Recovery in Rugby



Recovery is a large part of the game of rugby – however it is not limited to the game – there needs to be recovery process built into training sessions. specifically where the session is more intense than normal

Some sports men and women do not acknowledge that fun activities, coaching, refereeing, or simply having a kick around with a ball create the same loss of fluids, stress on the muscle structure and often act as replacement sessions or add on sessions to those completed in your main sport.

Recovery needs to be built into your lifestyle to allow for all sporting activities and specifically the recovery from repetitive sessions.


How to Tell if you have recovered

The simplest form of testing your  ability to recover or if you have recovered is to take and record your resting pulse – this is best done on wakening in the morning – check the rate over a period of 2 weeks and you will be able to build a picture of what is normal –

Example 1- A non active male may be 65 – 70 beats per minute in the morning – if he starts training and getting fitter his rate may fluctuate between 64 and 68 – this indicates a new level for the fitter person however if one morning he wakes and his rate is 72- 74 then he has not fully recovered from the previous days sessions or he may well be ill, (the flu etc)

Take Note: That a rise in 3 to 5 beats above standard for you may also indicate that you have a cold, fever, headache.

Example 2: A 15 year old in full training may well have a resting heart rate of 50 beats per minute, showing that he or she is in good shape.  Again a rise in the rate by above 5 beats would indicate that he or she has trained hard the day before (or 2 days) and that they have not fully recovered. Or as can often occur you went to bed late , did not get enough sleep to recover or failed to hydrate correctly yesterday and are suffering for that as well.

Once you have taken your rate for a period of 2 weeks get into the habit of taking it daily – if it is above the normal by 4 -5 beats then make an assessment as to how hard you train that day or if that is not in your control then how much rest / recovery sessions you can get into that day

Recovery Sessions

Lets look at the Recovery Sessions that should be completed before the game and during hard training weeks – These will allow the body to relax and prepare for the game

Sleep – resting when and where you can during the day , or getting more rest each night by getting to bed early and waking early of you need to study. 8 hrs a day is normal for a player from 13 to 20 years of age.

Video/Movies – These are less stressful than normal daily activities and more relaxing than video games and other activities.

Reading – some state study is hard – what we mean is reading for fun –

Watching TV – can be a method of relaxation and watching a game of rugby will enhance your knowledge of the game

Post and Pre Game Activities

Now lets look at sessions that are post training and immediately after games, these are designed to quicken your recovery process

Post training and post game stretching/flexibility sessions

Ice Baths – (3 X 30 SECONDS) will reduce the build up of lactic acids and other damaging effects of the game, reduce bleeding in any bruising/injury sites

Cold Showers will assist the recovery much in the same manner as ice baths

Nutrition – Getting the food, carbohydrates and proteins back into the system to replenish the energy stores.  This should be done within 20 minutes of completing the acitivity.

R.I.C.E.R refer to the section on Injury Rehabilitation for information on this

HYDRATION – FLUIDS – replacement of fluids specifically in hot climates is a immediate requirement and should be started as you complete the actitvity – for further information on this go to Dehydration on this site


Sessions to be completed within 24 hours after a hard training sessions or game –

Swimming Pool session – A set routine should be used before the fun activities begin in the pool – look for further information in the pool page of this site

Walk, Ride, Jog, Stretch – Any form of light activity that gets the blood circulating will assist reciver along with a further flexibility session

Ice Baths – Again a repeat of the previous sessions with 3 x 30 seconds in the water , along with a pool session or hot shower session followed by massage or stretching ( Cold followed by 1 minute hot – repeat 3 to 4 times (do not use hot if you have bruising or injuries)

These are some of the recommendations for recovery – they need to become a habit to ensure that you remain in a fit and healthy condition and are better able to play or train

Mental Fatigue

One crucial point for all Rugby Players is the mental state that you get yourself into – The writer is not a sports Physicologist – so we will simply leave you with this reminder image

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