As one of the fastest moving and physically demanding sports in the world, getting in shape for the rugby season takes months of hard work and rigid dietary planning. From planning healthy weight gain to increasing endurance, there are many components you will need to consider as part of your training regime.
Take a look at our guide to rugby training for tips and advice on getting in shape for the season. Bear in mind that training programmes should be tailored to your individual capabilities and requirements as well as the position in which you play.
Increasing strength is essential to getting rugby fit and a considerable part of this is weight training. How much you lift during an individual session should largely depend on how close your next game is, for example lift your maximum capacity during off season to build strength and fitness, but lower this in the lead up to a game. Incorporate a session of military presses, deltoid lifts, bicep and leg curls, pull downs, and tricep and leg extensions into your workout once or twice a week. Products such as maximuscle may help to give your body the support it needs for muscle growth, strength and recovery during training.
Plyometrics are a form of exercise designed to produce strong, rapid movements whilst improving the functions of the nervous system. Unlike sprints, plyometrics are not long duration, high intensity training, but rather short bursts of maximum power exercise with considerable recovery time between short sessions. Typically, there is an increased risk of injury involved with this type of exercise due to the large forces produced. As such, only attempt plyometrics if you are of good physical strength, flexible and under supervision.
Running on its own is unlikely to get you fit enough for the rugby season but acts as a good base from which to work on other forms of training. Going for a thirty minute run at a comfortable pace two or three times a week should do the trick, but it also might be worth incorporating rugby specific running which simulates a game to accustom you to pitch conditions.
Speed training is an important component to your training regime as rugby players – particularly in certain positions like wingers – should be skilled at acceleration, quickly changing direction and deceiving the opposition, all of which require an abundance of speed and agility. Always start by warming up before sprinting a short distance at maximum effort. Allow plenty of time for recovery before repeating. With time, speed training should aid improvement of your performance on the pitch, helping you to evade tacklers, catch attackers and catch passes.