Rugby players are fierce, strong and powerful athletes. They need to have the ability to lift big, fight their way through a tackle and sprint towards the try line. As such, training like a rugby player requires a three-fold plan.
Whether you want to know more about the training routine of your favourite rugby union players or you’re looking to elevate your gym sessions, here’s the perfect training routine for playing rugby.
Strength and conditioning
Building muscle is essential for playing rugby. Not only does muscle provide power on the pitch but it can also help to protect your body. Essentially, muscle is key to both the force you can deliver and absorb.
For the strength and conditioning part of your rugby training programme, it’s important to focus on compound movements. This will allow you to train multiple muscle groups at once, not only making your workout shorter and more effective, but it will also teach your muscles to work together – something that’s vital out on the pitch. But what does this look like in practice?
Design your workout to include moves that feature push, pull and twist movements, as well as squats and bends. For example, this could include bench press, pull ups, medicine ball twists, dead lifts, squats and walking lunges.
Additionally, we recommend following a rugby diet and consume enough protein to help you build muscle.
High intensity interval training (HIIT)
While muscle is important, rugby players must have good cardio fitness. This is where high intensity interval training (HIIT) comes in.
Rather than running long distances or spending hours on the treadmill, HIIT uses intervals that cycle between intense exercise and short rest periods. This deprives your muscles of oxygen, helping to build endurance in an anaerobic state – this is crucial as rugby is an anaerobic sport.
A successful rugby player must be able to jog around the pitch as well as break into a sprint which makes HIIT an ideal training tool. For the perfect rugby training routine, this could include anything from short sprints and kettle bell flows to push ups and burpees.
The final component of the perfect rugby training routine is agility training. This part of your workout is designed to help you expertly manoeuvre around the pitch, ensuring you can start, stop and change direction without sustaining injury.
Agility training often requires thinking outside of the box. This isn’t something you can achieve using a weight machine, on the rower or in any singular motion. Instead, agility training is all about dynamic movement.
Set up cones and zig zag side to side as you run through them or take it to the next level with lateral plyometric jumps. Additionally, box jumps, speed ladders and tuck jumps are all effective agility drills.