Evaluation of passive recovery, cold water immersion, and contrast baths for recovery, as measured by game performances markers, between two simulated games of rugby union

Trevor R. Higgins, Melainie L. Cameron, Mike Climstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


ABSTRACT: In team sports, during the competitive season, peak performance in each game is of utmost importance to coaching staff and players. To enhance recovery from training and games a number of recovery modalities have been adopted across professional sporting teams. To date there is little evidence in the sport science literature identifying the benefit of modalities in promoting recovery between sporting competition games. This research evaluated hydrotherapy as a recovery strategy following a simulated game of rugby union and a week of recovery and training, with dependent variables between two simulated games of rugby union evaluated. Twenty-four male players were randomly divided into three groups: one group (n=8) received cold water immersion therapy (2 X 5min at 10oC, whilst one group (n=8) received contrast bath therapy (5 cycles of 10oC/38oC) and the control group (n=8) underwent passive recovery (15mins, thermo neutral environment). The two forms of hydrotherapy were administered following a simulated rugby union game (8 circuits x 11 stations) and after three training sessions. Dependent variables where generated from five physical stations replicating movement characteristics of rugby union and one skilled based station, as well as sessional RPE values between two simulated games of rugby union. No significant differences were identified between groups across simulated games, across dependent variables. Effect size analysis via Cohen's d and ηp2 did identify medium trends between groups. Overall trends indicated that both treatment groups had performance results in the second simulated game above those of the control group of between 2% and 6% across the physical work stations replicating movement characteristics of rugby union. In conclusion, trends in this study may indicate that ice baths and contrasts baths may be more advantageous to athlete's recovery from team sport than passive rest between successive games of rugby union We are pleased to resubmit our revised manuscript JSCR-08-1992 and have addressed the comments and suggestions raised by the reviewers. Please find below a list of changes or rebuttal against each point.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2012


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