Serious aerobic work will help you get your cardio fitness back, says Darren Grewcock

Treadmill Intervals
Alternating between inclines on a treadmill is less punishing on your joints than road running, and it’s easier to regulate your heart-rate.

  • Start walking on an incline at 6kmh moving from 2-8° for ten minutes
  • Then work in sequences of two-minute runs at 4° followed by one-minute recovery walks at 2°
  • Maintain a 65-85% heart-rate, or approximately 130-155/160 bpm

Reps and Sets
Reps – two-min run/one walk    Sets – five
Incline – 4° run/2° walk        Heart-rate – 65-85%

Spinning and Boxing Circuit
The aim of this indoor aerobic work is to minimise impact on your joints, as your body is taking enough of that on the rugby field.

  • Spinning classes or interval blocks on your own are very effective
  • Interval sets on pads, working on technique and accuracy rather than power and big hits, will also keep your heart-rate high
  • Do a 50- to 60-minute workout, maintaining sub-max heart-rate level

Reps and Sets
Reps – 60 seconds high/low       Sets – three/four each
Rest – 60 secs between exercises       Heart-rate – 65-85%

Stepper and Cross-trainer
Again, high/low intervals on these two machines allow you to control your work-rate accurately without your joints taking on any impact.

  • Mix your intervals on the stepper between having your hands for support, and stepping free-hand, as this is good for your core too
  • The same goes for the cross-trainer. Don’t always use your hands
  • Vary resistance levels for speed and intensity. Stick to the heart-rate!

Reps and Sets
Reps – 60 seconds high/low    Sets – four/five each
Rest – 60 seCs between exercises      Heart-rate – 65-85%

Tennis/Squash and Rehydrate
Remember, the objective this month is to do some extras, so this programme should be in addition to your rugby-specific work!

  • Tennis and squash are both very effective aerobic workouts
  • Just 30-40 minutes of this kind of activity not only gives you a good workout but also much-needed variety
  • Water is a big part of a weight-loss regime. Drink 2.5-3 litres per day

Reps and Sets
Time – 30 TO 40 minutes                 Plus – ten mins stretching
Daily calories – 2,500 max           Water – 3 litres per day

This article appeared in the January 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.


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