The efficacy of a multimodal recovery strategy implemented after a high-intensity rugby league training session

Hendrickus Aben, Samuel Hills, Darren Higgins, Carlton Cooke, Danielle Davis, Ben Jones, Mark Russell

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The efficacy of a multimodal recovery strategy implemented within 4 h of rugby league (RL) training was investigated using repeated measures randomized cross-over methods in ten professional academy RL players (age: 17 ± 1 years). Following standardized training (5383 m covered, 350 m high-speed running, 28 repeated high-intensity efforts, 24 collisions), players completed a multimodal recovery strategy (i.e., ~640 kcal meal + ~1285 kcal snacks/drinks, cold-water immersion, sleep hygiene recommendations) or control (i.e., ~640 kcal meal: CONT) practices. Isometric mid-thigh pulls (IMTP), countermovement jumps (CMJ) and wellness questionnaires were completed pre- (-3 h) and post-training (+24, +48 h). The recovery strategy influenced IMTP peak force (p = 0.026), but betweentrial differences were undetectable. No other between-trial effects (all p>0.05) were seen for IMTP, CMJ or wellness variables. Training-induced reductions in CMJ peak power (-4 ± 6% vs baseline: 4878 ± 642 W) at +24 h (p = 0.016) dissipated by +48 h. Fatigue and lower-body soreness reduced by 16 ± 19% (p = 0.01) and 32 ± 44% (p = 0.024) at +48 h versus +24 h, respectively. Relative to CONT (i.e., post-training nutrition), the effects of a single bout of recovery practices appeared limited when implemented after-RL-specific training. Therefore, when training included limited collisions, balanced post-exercise meals appeared equally effective relative to a multimodal recovery strategy. Transient
changes in performance and wellness variables post-training may have implications for practitioners. Consecutive training sessions, including a high frequency and intensity of eccentric muscle actions should be carefully planned, especially near match-play.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1634-1642
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Issue number8
Early online date1 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


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