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Evaluation of hydrotherapy, using passive tests and power tests, for recovery across a cyclic week of competitive rugby union

In team sports, a cycle of training, competition, and recovery occurs weekly during the competitive season. This research evaluates hydrotherapy for recovery from a simulated game of rugby union and a week of recovery and training. Methods: Twenty-four male players (mean age 19.46 SD± 0.82, weight 82.38kg SD± 11.12, height in centremeters 178.54 SD± 5.75) were divided into three groups: one received (n=8) cold water immersion therapy, another (n=8) received contrast bath therapy, and the control group (n=8) received neither. The two forms of hydrotherapy were administered following a simulated game of rugby union. Testing was conducted one hour prior to the game and at five intervals after it: one hour, 48 hours, 72 hours, 96 hours, and 144 hours. Dependent variables included countermovement jump (CMJ), 10 and 40 meter sprints, sessional rating of perceived exertion (RPE), flexibility, thigh circumference, and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Results: A significant difference in DOMS was found at 72 hours post (p=0.03) and 96 hours post (p=0.04) between the control and contrast bath groups, and at 48 hours post (p=0.02) between cold water immersion and contrast bath groups. Cold water immersion and contrast baths scores for Sessional RPE showed a significant difference at time points 72 hours post and 96 hours post (p=0.05) between the two groups. Discussion: Athletes` perceptions of muscle soreness and sessional RPE scores for training were greater in the contrast bath group after the simulated game and throughout the training week. Although results from passive and power tests were inconclusive in determining whether cold water immersion or passive recovery was more effective in attenuating fatigue, they showed that contrast baths had little benefit in enhancing recovery during a cyclic week of rugby union. Trends identified through effect sizes indicated that cold water immersion offered more in attenuating the effects of fatigue when athletes` perceptions of muscle soreness and perceptions of training loads were measured. Indications are that cold water immersion offer more for players in terms of recovery from the cyclic activity of game and training associated with rugby union.
© Copyright 2012 17th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Bruges, 4. -7. July 2012. Published by Vrije Universiteit Brussel. All rights reserved.

Subjects: sports game rugby load training competition competition period recovery method fluid exercise / load tolerance muscle test investigation method strength
Notations: biological and medical sciences sport games
Published in: 17th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS), Bruges, 4. -7. July 2012
Editors: R. Meeusen, J. Duchateau, B. Roelands, M. Klass, B. De Geus, S. Baudry, E. Tsolakidis
Published: Brügge Vrije Universiteit Brussel 2012
Pages: 595
Document types: congress proceedings
Language: English
Level: advanced