Effectiveness of post-match recovery strategies in rugby players
- 1Waikato Institute of Technology, School of Sport and Exercise Science, Hamilton, New Zealand
- 2The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, Hamilton, New Zealand
- Correspondence to: Dr Nicholas D Gill Waikato Institute of Technology, School of Sport and Exercise Science, Hamilton 2001, New Zealand;
- Accepted 27 September 2005
Objectives: To examine the effectiveness of four interventions on the rate and magnitude of muscle damage recovery, as measured by creatine kinase (CK).
Methods: 23 elite male rugby players were monitored transdermally before, immediately after, 36 hours after, and 84 hours after competitive rugby matches. Players were randomly assigned to complete one of four post-match strategies: contrast water therapy (CWT), compression garment (GAR), low intensity active exercise (ACT), and passive recovery (PAS).
Results: Significant increases in CK activity in transdermal exudate were observed as a result of the rugby match (p<0.01). The magnitude of recovery in the PAS intervention was significantly worse than in the ACT, CWT, and GAR interventions at the 36 and 84 hour time points (p<0.05).
Conclusions: An enhanced rate and magnitude of recovery was observed in the ACT, CWT, and GAR treatment groups when compared with the PAS group. Low impact exercise immediately post-competition, wearing compression garments, or carrying out contrast water therapy enhanced CK clearance more than passive recovery in young male athletes.
- ACT, active recovery
- CK, creatine kinase
- CWT, contrast water therapy
- GAR, compression garment
- NPC, National Provincial Championship
- PAS, passive recovery
Competing interests: none declared