80 minutes of rugby at any level is severe on the body, so getting that all-important rugby recovery session in the following day is crucial for performance.
Rugby players are encouraged to perform a rugby recovery session the day after a game to help recovery, which will aid soreness, tightness and mobility issues.
The sessions will only take 20 minutes and are designed to be light, mostly non-strenuous work. We’ve got a great line of recovery equipment right HERE.
Check out a video snippet of the session below.
Intersport Elverys takes recovery serious, that’s why we’ve got Connacht Rugby’s Head of Athletic Performance, David Howarth, to take us through a typical recovery rugby session.
Or as Howarth puts it, in his Aussie accent: ‘a regen session’.
Howarth brings a wealth of experience to his role, having previously worked with Oklahoma City Thunder NBA as their strength and conditioning coach.
So you’re in safe hands.
Before you start, why not check out our Top Tips from the Connacht Rugby Team.
Types of Rugby Recovery Session
“There’s three different levels of regeneration or recovery that we would suggest for the Connacht Rugby guys to do after big sessions, or between sessions, so that they can get ready to perform again.
“Essentially you can do active regeneration, passive regeneration or some sort of mental regeneration.
“Active regeneration or recovery might be down in the ocean getting in cold water, or a sauna of some other exposure to heat, or maybe it might just be getting a longer sleep.
“A mental regeneration could be reading, talking with friends or working through some plans or something like that. While active regen’ or recovery is where we actually take action to try and change tissue quality, or the way we feel and move.
“So below is a quick example of some active regen’ we suggest for the guys to do on their down days.”
Dos and Don’ts for a Rugby Recovery Session
“Before any rugby recovery session starts, there’s a number of dos and don’ts you should follow.
“One thing we want to prioritise going into any of these sessions is making sure we get enough sleep and we’ve eaten the right foods. This can be like putting lipstick on a monkey if you don’t do these two things.
“First, make sure you get a really good night’s sleep and get good food into you going into that day off. Once you’re on it, make sure you’re taking your time going through the recovery session and don’t rush it.
“But equally don’t turn it into a full workout because that is coming the day after for you.
“Check out our three-part easy-to-do active recovery session below.”
Active Rugby Recovery Session To Try
Rugby Recovery Session Part 1: Trigger Therapy
“To do this, you are going to need a roller and a trigger ball, even a massage gun will help.
“Start by lying down on your roller, hugging yourself around your chest, looking for elbow on elbow, and working on your lower back, rolling between your hips and about the middle of the thoracic spine.
“Keep it nice and smooth, nice and slow, and keep that chin tucked up.
“Then you’re going to find a nice tight spot, drop your hips down to the ground and gradually lift those elbows back towards your head, working in and out of it. What you’re trying to do is pin down the tissue that is really tight.
“This is really good for loosing out the shoulders and you can work your way through the various tight spots you might have.
“From there you can move on to the front of the thigh. Roll over and drop your quads onto the roller, go one or two legs, whatever you feel comfortable doing.
“And we’re working the same theories here of rolling through the tissue, finding any bad spots and when you do, pin the knot.
“This can be really beneficial when you don’t have access to massage therapy.
“We want you to continue working through the legs, like the outside of the thigh – the IT Band – and then the calves. This is not particularly pleasant, nor do you want it to be, so it should feel a six or seven out of ten in terms of pain.
“The results should be pleasant but the actual doing of it is quite unpleasant.”
Rugby Recovery Session Phase 2: Basic Stretching
“The second phase of this is just basic stretching.
“One we like to do is the pigeon push up. Start in a push up position, pull your knee up to your chest and point your foot out the side. From there you just want to drop your chest over the top of your knee. Don’t overdo this either.
“We’re lengthening out that muscle towards the back around the glutes and up toward the hip, a part of the body that gets tied up in rugby players due to change of direction and getting blasted off the ball.
“It’s pretty hard to hold yourself in this if you’ve not got a good range of motion and the ability to hold here ends up in a little bit of a performance advantage.”
“Another stretch we like is a lying leg twist. The lads will lie on their back, roll their leg over and try and keep their shoulders on the ground. If you’re struggling with that, just lean over on your side, life your hand high up in the air and twist that back as far as you can.
“Stay nice and relaxed while holding these positions and stay in them for one to two minutes.”
Rugby Recover Session Phase 3: Movement Fly
“The next phase is a bit more challenging and about cleaning up the movement, making sure that hips and shoulders and backs are working together and able to transition between key positions.
“We’ll ask the guys to stand on their feet, starting nice and low, pushing up overhead and reaching away to open up them shoulders, challenging that balance. Sinking down to a forward fold to loosen out the hamstrings before walking your hands forward to a push up position.
“You can work by pushing back in a dogs pose or push through to a Hindu pose. From here step forward with one leg, pushing into the ground with one arm and the opposite points towards the sky and opens up. Repeat on the other side.
“For a bit of a challenge to the core, bring the hands back into what we call a bear crawl position and move to an ex-switch, which brings up one foot and the opposite hand to the shoulder. Stay low and balanced before rolling back into a squat and standing up.”
As Official Sports Retail Partner of Connacht Rugby, we’re delighted to have David’s expertise on show. Full video below.
We’ve got other recovery based content too, like this Yoga Poses for GAA Players and Footballers.
Why not shop our Rugby Range Right HERE or our Recovery Range below.