Cardio combinations and circuits have a minimal impact on the body, says Darren Grewcock

Cross-trainer & Press-ups
Combining sets of 30-second reps on the cross-trainer – sprint-steady-sprint-steady – with press-ups on the floor can leave you feeling nauseous. But work through it!

  • Set cross-trainer at moderate resistance so you can keep up speed
  • Vary sprints. Use arm rods for some and not for others
  • Only take 30 seconds’ rest when you do your press-ups. Swap quickly

Reps and Sets
Reps – 30 seconds work/rest              Sets – four
Alternate – after each set of four        Tempo – continuous

Stepper & Medicine Ball
Again, the up/down effect of these exercises can make you feel dizzy. That’s inertia, and you need to work through it so your body can adapt.

  • Make sure your stepper sprints are at a maximal pace, 95% intensity
  • Again, use hands to balance for some reps, and do some without
  • When you do your medicine ball launches, if you haven’t got a partner you can use a wall to bounce the ball off

Reps and Sets
Reps – 30 seconds work/rest               Sets – four
Alternate – after each set of four         Tempo – continuous

Bike & Core Stability
You can either use a standard exercise bike or spinning bike, which is even better as long as you can get on and off it quickly.

  • Whichever bike you’re using, ensure you can reach 105-110rpm
  • Refrain from standing up as this will slow down your leg speed and change the emphasis of what you’re working on
  • Mix with 30 seconds of core exercises such as the plank (above right)

Reps and Sets
Reps – 30 seconds work/rest               Sets – four
Alternate – after each set of four         Tempo – continuous

Rowing & Counter-balance squats
Technique is critical with these exercises. With both, keep your back flat with your core locked out, especially when you start to tire.

  • Even though you’re maxing out on the rower, keep a 35-36 rpm rate
  • Perform your squats with a 10, 15 or 20kg weight plate – no heavier
  • Combine sets of up/down counter-balance squats with a single static squeeze squat for the full 30 seconds

Reps and Sets
Reps – 30 seconds work/rest                 Sets – four
Alternate – after each set of four           Tempo – continuous

This article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.

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