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Why Fluid Is Important For Rugby Players


In any cardiovascular sport, fluid intake is not only recommended but essential. With that said, in the modern game of rugby (league or union) fluid intake, before, during and after activity is vital.

One of the main ways the body loses water is through sweat and therefore in order to keep your muscles working at optimum levels they need to be rehydrated on a regular basis. Electrolytes such as sodium are also lost in sweat and need to be replaced.

One of the main jobs of a coach is to always have an ample supply of water available and preferably drinks that can be mixed with water containing carbohydrates and electrolytes. This is essential for the rugby athlete as the game is both a high intensity and high endurance sport.

How Much Fluid And When?

The amount of fluid and how much varies from sport to sport and also depends on the weather conditions, but the general guidelines for Rugby Players are;

  • Always be well hydrated before training or a game. Start taking small amounts of water or carbohydrate based drinks at regular intervals (upto 6 hrs before kick off)
  • During excersise or a game, take regular drink breaks or when there’s a stoppage in play ALWAYS have at least a mouthful.
  • Immediately after excersise or a game, you should weigh yourself to find out how much fluid you’ve lost (1kg=1000ml). An important point to remember is that you will continue to lose fluids after excerise for between 2 and 6 hours and therefore need to replace these too. A rule of thumb is 1.5x your weight loss

Eg. 1kg weight loss = 1.5 litres of fluid to fully rehydrate (Less than 1Kg is preferable)

  • Thirst is not an effective indicator as to when or how much you need to drink. If you’re thirsty then you’re already dehydrated.

What about alcohol?

Alcohol is a diuretic which means it increases the volume of urine produced by the body, therefore, interfering with the rehydartion process. If you like to drink alcohol after a game or excersise then look after your rehydration first (using the Kg/Litres ratio) and drink sensibly.

Fluid Guidlines Summary

  • Dehydration definately impares pefrormance and mental skills
  • If you are thirsty then you’re already dehydrated
  • Monitor your fluid losses by weighing yourself
  • Use the weight(Kg)/Fluid(Litres) ratio to find out how much fluid to replace
  • Be aware of greater fluid loss in warmer conditions.
  • Sports drinks are recommended for rugby as it is a high intensity sport.
  • Drink alcohol sensibly After the rehydration process.

Neil Harmon


Categories : General

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