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J Strength Cond Res. 2013 May;27(5):1304-12. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318267a5e9.

The effect of post-match alcohol ingestion on recovery from competitive rugby league matches.

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  • 1School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.


This study investigated the effects of alcohol ingestion on lower-body strength and power and physiological and cognitive recovery after competitive Rugby League matches. Nine male Rugby players participated in 2 matches, followed by 1 of 2 randomized interventions, a control or alcohol ingestion session. Four hours post-match, participants consumed either beverages containing a total of 1 g of ethanol per kilogram bodyweight (vodka and orange juice; ALC) or a caloric and taste-matched nonalcoholic beverage (orange juice; CONT). Before the match, immediately post-match, 2 hours post-, and 16 hours post-match measures of countermovement jump (CMJ); maximal voluntary contraction (MVC); voluntary activation (VA); and damage and stress markers of creatine kinase (CK), C-reactive protein (CRP), cortisol, and testosterone analyzed from venous blood collection; and cognitive function (modified Stroop test) were determined. Alcohol resulted in large effects for decreased CMJ height (-2.35 ± 8.14% and -10.53 ± 8.36% decrement for CONT and ALC, respectively; p = 0.15, d = 1.40), without changes in MVC (p = 0.52, d = 0.70) or VA (p = 0.15, d = 0.69). Furthermore, alcohol resulted in a significant slowing of total time in a cognitive test (p = 0.04, d = 1.59) while exhibiting large effects for detriments in congruent reaction time (p = 0.19, d = 1.73). Despite large effects for increased cortisol after alcohol ingestion during recovery (p = 0.28, d = 1.44), post-match alcohol consumption did not unduly affect testosterone (p = 0.96, d = 0.10), CK (p = 0.66, d = 0.70), or CRP (p = 0.75, d = 0.60). It seems that alcohol consumption during the evening after competitive rugby matches may have some detrimental effects on peak power and cognitive recovery the morning after a Rugby League match. Accordingly, practitioners should be aware of the potential associated detrimental effects of alcohol consumption on recovery and provide alcohol awareness to athletes at post-match functions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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