IF YOU want big legs in time for this season, then you’ve just got time to fit in some pre-season exercises. If you want to be taken seriously, you could always make the most out of your gym and book a course of training sessions with a personal trainer. To get the most out of bulking up your legs follow these simple, efficient leg workouts that will definitely increase your muscle mass in time for the Rugby season.
Toulon’s rugby performance director Steve Walsh shares his view that bigger legs equals better performance on the pitch. He says, “legs are everything in rugby. You can have a strong upper body but if your legs are week you’re wasting your time. If you can only work out twice a week, make sure you do some leg work.”
Now, you don’t need fitness instructor qualifications to know that building up your leg muscle requires good core stability and a base fitness level, so make sure these are up to scratch before you begin any serious leg work outs.
Squats are an all round good exercise for rugby lads, especially the forwards. For a pure and simple squat hold a barbell across your shoulders, keep your back upright and bend your knees slowly, until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
To take things to the next level once you’ve mastered a basic squat, try sets of pyramid squats; it’s the ultimate leg burner:
The idea of pyramid squats is to build up to a maximum weight, thereby slowly improving your ability in resistance training. Try doing four sets, in exactly the same way as the before, but with each set increase your weight. The final set should be 2-3 reps of maximum weight.
These exercises are quite similar to lunges, except that you lunge at a 45 degree angle. This angle will strengthen the groin, and inner quads which are vital when you need to perform a powerful, speedy side step. Unlike the squats above, don’t use a really heavy weight to begin with, as you’re more likely to injure yourself; instead, gradually build your weight up. 3 sets of 10-15 reps should do it.
The deadlift is also a classic exercise for every rugby player because they’re great for back and hamstring strength, as well as keeping up your core stability.
Bend your knees and grab hold of a barbell on the floor. Keeping your back in a neutral position, lift the bar so it rubs up your shins and thighs until you are standing. Lower it slowly back down again. Deadlifts should also be performed in a pyramid fashion – 4 sets of 5 reps with a 2-3 rep on the final set.
Whether you cycle to work or just on a static at the gym, working your legs burns more calories than most other body parts. Because working your legs means you’ll burn an insane amount of calories, so it’s worth upping your carb intake and having a protein shake after you’ve done a serious leg work out to bulk up.
Don’t forget to stretch! Not only can stretching prevent injuries, but there’s plenty of research that suggests solid strength can increase just from stretching. If you want big legs then it’s vital to stretch to get the most development and flexibility.
Rugby demands both endurance and power, of which power plays a more dominant role. With a contact sport, your opposition is going to have powerful legs too; and so one of you is going to end up on the ground – so if you follow these exercises you can make sure it’s not you.Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.