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Effectiveness of post-match recovery strategies in rugby players
  1. N D Gill1,
  2. C M Beaven2,
  3. C Cook2
  1. 1Waikato Institute of Technology, School of Sport and Exercise Science, Hamilton, New Zealand
  2. 2The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, Hamilton, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Nicholas D Gill
 Waikato Institute of Technology, School of Sport and Exercise Science, Hamilton 2001, New Zealand; nicholas.gill{at}


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
  • creatine kinase
  • contrast water therapy
  • active recovery
  • passive recovery
  • compression garments

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  • Competing interests: none declared