Work to rest ratio

The game of rugby is stop-start in nature, meaning that there is more time spent inactive and walking than there is in higher-intensity work. During work periods, the game places great demands on the primary and secondary energy systems, while during recovery periods the tertiary energy system contributes significantly.

Work to rest ratios show how long on average a player has in low-intensity activity to rest and recover following a high-intensity piece of work during a game. Backs generally have a longer period of rest when compared with forwards and this is reflected in the work to rest ratios. Work to rest ratios of 1:4 for forwards and 1:6 in backs were noted in Super 14 rugby (Austin et al, 2011). The work to rest ratios will change on a game-to-game basis depending on opposition and conditions but having an understanding of them for each position will be very useful when it comes to designing training to mimic game demands.