For anyone who is hoping to become a successful rugby player, proper training is incredibly important. This can include completing special exercise routines that work your core muscles, undergoing fitness training, and building stamina, so that you can keep competing for the entire length of a match.
Team training exercises will include practice scrums, practice kicking, tackle practice, and full training matches. As well as training as part of your team, you will probably be expected to maintain individual training so that you can reach peak levels of fitness and keep these levels, even during the off season.
Weight training should be limited to two sessions per week during the season, so as to not put excessive strain on the muscles and to give the muscles chance to recover properly between workouts. Sessions may be more frequent during the off-season.
Try to maintain a weights schedule which helps you to build the muscles that you need for the game. If you do not know how to do these weight exercises safely, always consult with an expert, or you may end up doing more harm than good. Make sure that you never use a weight that is too heavy for you.
Barbell Squats – Squats are a great choice for any player. 4 sets of three reps per session should be enough to promote muscle strength in the quads.
Deadlifts – Another great choice for all rugby players, these lifts are good for back and hamstring strength, as well as for maintaining core stability. Do the same schedule of reps as you do for Barbell Squats.
Power Cleans – This weight exercise is great for boosting raw power. Frequency of repetitions is more important than the weight lifted. It is also a good idea to practice with lighter weights until you have mastered the technique. Doing 4 sets of 10-12 reps can help to build muscle endurance.
Bench Presses – Bench presses are ideal for those who are hoping to build upper body strength. Pyramid style sets will help to build up strength over time.
Seated Military Presses – These presses help to build strong, muscular shoulders which are conducive to powerful scrummage, rucks, mauls and lifts. Use either a dumbbell or a barbell and do 4 reps, pyramid style.
Aerobic/ Cardiac Fitness
The best way to bring up your base fitness level is to do exercises which increase your heart rate, ideally bringing it up to a rate of 150 – 160 bpm. Raising your heart rate much higher than this can be counterproductive and should therefore be avoided.
Jogging – Jogging is great for building up endurance, as well as helping to strengthen core muscles. Short periods of running interspersed with short periods of jogging are a great way to build fitness safely. Invest in good running shoes to protect your feet and reduce stress on your legs.
Rowing/Rowing-Machine – When rowing is done properly, it is a great whole body workout. If you have never used a rowing machine before, talk to your trainer at the gym, so that they can show you the best technique. Alternating your rowing speed is great for cardio.
Swimming – Swimming is a good exercise to try if you are recovering from injury. Whilst it helps to work many of the different muscles used in rugby, you will not have to worry about things like impact injuries which can occur in running or jogging. Every time you train at the pool, try to increase your distance by 2 lengths, until you can do 50 lengths whenever you go.
Interval training can help you to build fitness, as well as helping you to build up basic speed and power. The ability to change speeds quickly and without negative consequence is very important in rugby.
The basis of interval training is that you need to complete short burst of intense exercise, followed by longer bursts of less intense exercise. This can be done with a variety of different disciples. Training your body to work like this will help you when you are on the rugby field.
A more detailed article on training for rugby players can be found here.