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Countdown to the 2024 World Cup



Optimising Exercise Recovery

Recovery is important


Optimal Post-Exercise Routine:

  1. Fluid replacement
  2. Ice Baths
  3. Food
  4. Compression garments
  5. Sleep
  6. Stretching, rolling & triggering

A practical approach needs to be taken where time is of the essence. If the athletes have had a late game, keeping them awake to make sure they complete ice baths is going to impact on sleeping time. Better that they get food and a good night’s sleep.


  1. Ice baths
    • optimum temperature 15 degrees, 10 minutes, immersed to neck
    • if pushed for time with large team, make water colder e.g. 10 degrees, 5 mins
    • ideal for muscular fatigue
  2. Contrast
    • Can be shower or bath
    • Equal time under / in each
    • Finish on cold
    • Ideal for neurological fatigue
  3. Pool
    • Not as cold as ice bath so need to be in longer to get the same benefits
    • 28-degree pool, 20-30 minutes
    • Also good for the next day as a “get moving” session – reduced load on joints, benefits of water pressure on body


  • If use ice / contrast baths post-exercise, performance will return to baseline within 24 hrs
  • If do not use, performance will still be reduced by about 10% at 72 hours
  • Most effective in first 3 hours post-exercise, but can be done up to 12 hours afterwards

N.B. Core body temperature remains the same whilst immersed in the water – is only when gets out that body starts to cool

Hot Environment

Can use as a pre-cooling tool in hot environments but needs to me a min of 2 hrs before the game otherwise will not be able to warm up properly. Will remain cooled for up to 3-4 hrs.

*Important when playing in a comp with more than one game on same day*

Compression Garments

  • Top 6 brands rated for durability, graduated compression, do what they said they claim
  • Top 3 – Skins, 2XU, Adidas
  • Skins have good compression but poor-quality fabric – will not last as long
  • 2XU have same level of compression but a more durable
  • Fabric will lose compressive qualities if : wash in hot water, put in dryer, use fabric softener
  • If using regularly 2-3x per week, fabric will wear out within 3 months
  • Needs to be worn for a min of 2 hrs after exercise to gain physiological advantages – the longer the better
  • No added benefit to wearing when sleeping

Long Haul Plane Flights

  • Commercially available compression garments ineffective – often result in swollen feet that take several days to return to normal
  • Top 2 brands Jobst and Venosan – need to be measured and ordered from Physio / Dr



  • Minimum of 8-9 hours’ sleep after high intensity exercise
  • If an adolescent (up to the age of 25) athlete, needs to be a minimum of 9 hrs

Stretching, rolling

  • Improve range of motion & flexibility
  • Improve blood flow through the muscles, reduce tightness
  • Improve ability to shock absorb


  • Resist or cope with trauma
  • Promote neuromuscular facilitation (nerve function)
  • Post training/game
    • Decrease DOMS
    • Better removal of waste products & more rapid tissue repair

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