Craig is currently Professor of Applied Sport Physiology at the University of Chester, where his primary research interests address athlete responses to training and competition. Craig has published extensively in the areas of applied science of rugby, exercise-induced muscle damage and athlete monitoring. He is also co-editor of the Routledge textbook The Science of Rugby and section editor for the International Rugby Science Network. Craig is a Fellow of BASES as well as an Accredited Sports and Exercise Scientist. He currently works with St Helens RFC, The Rugby Football League and the England Touch Association in various research and applied roles.

Synopsis of talk

Training and competition leads to an immediate and sometimes prolonged disruption of the athlete’s biopsychosocial homeostasis. While a short-term deterioration in physical and mental states is often desirable for adaptation and sometimes unavoidable in competition, long-term fatigue and under-recovery are likely to have negative consequences for the athlete. Individual characteristics as well as the type, duration and intensity of the activity performed will all influence the extent of the fatigue and muscle damage response by an athlete in the days after exercise and the time course of recovery. Therefore, an understanding of factors influencing the responses to exercise is necessary for the practitioner to effectively manage the athlete’s readiness to perform.

Using research and practical examples, this talk will explore the influence of activity characteristics on the acute responses to exercise in both male and female athletes. The role of individual physical characteristics and how these might impact the fatigue and muscle damage response to exercise will also be considered.