Best Rugby Workout Plan in 2021
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How to Train for Rugby
Club, Collegiate and High School rugby are becoming more popular in the US every day. This is written from the perspective of a women's club rugby player.
There are several key elements to being fit for rugby: speed, agility, strength, ball handling and endurance.
Speed is essential to rugby. For backs and for forwards, you need to be able to outrun your opponent, and you need to be able to catch your opponent. You need to be able to run a short run to a tackle and then get up and do it again. A rugby match is two 40-minute halves. And for those 80 minutes, you are up, sprinting, down, up, sprinting, down... To be ready for this, you need to do interval training. It's great to hit the track, but running 3 miles isn't going to work on the pitch. You need to break that three miles up into sprints. Do "suicides" where you race to a line, say 10 meters away, race back to where you started, and then race out to a line 20 meters away. Set up cones at varying distances and practice repetitions of suicides. Break these up and do some of them where you spring forward AND backwards. You can even run around a track, throwing in full speed sprints with jogging in between. Another trick I have seen is for folks to jog through their neighborhood - jog on the block, spring through every intersection and do ten push-ups at the end of the intersection, get up and jog to the next one. Repeat this exercise for three to five miles through a neighborhood.
Agility gives you the ability to out maneuver your opponent. This helps you side step a tackler, or step in the way of a tackler. You need good footwork to stay agile on the pitch and be able to change direction when needed. This is where plyometric workouts come in. You may need cones or small, sturdy wood boxes for plyometrics. Set up the cones about a stride-width apart, or a bit more. You can practice skipping along the cones, and alternate between skips with LONG strides, and skips where you drive your knees upward and are looking for height. You can do the same with both feet together; long standing jumps, and jumps for height.
With boxes, you can practice jumping on and off the boxes to the front, and to each side. You can do this with both feet, or with one foot at a time. Side to side, you can also jump all the way over the box - again, practice with one foot or with both feet. Do all of these together in sets of 10, 3 times through each set. This will build calve and ankle strength, which will allow you to quickly turn when you need to on the pitch.
The above two sets of exercises should be done on grassy fields, so that it will emulate a pitch. Strength, however, can be done in the gym. For tackling, you'll need strong legs. Leg presses, squats, curls and extensions can all be easily done in most gyms. Building your leg strength will also help your speed and agility. You'll need upper body strength for ball handling, mauling, rucking, and the straight arm for avoiding tacklers. You can incorporate this into your field work by adding in sets of push ups where ever possible. Don't worry, your coach will almost always add this to rugby practice! Bench presses, military presses, inclined presses will build your arms. Bicep curls, tricep raises, lateral pull downs and flies will help strengthen your shoulders, and complimentary muscle groups to prepare you for hard hits on the field.
Ball handling will be a major part of your rugby practice. Try to NEVER miss a practice with your team. It's essential you practice all types of passing. You can practice them while stationary, in simple running drills, as well as full contact drills. You can never get enough ball handling in during practice. This skill will build over time, as a core of practice will be drills with the ball.
Last but not least, you need endurance. This can be built by any cardiovascular work out that suits you best, but running is probably most suited for rugby. Sprinting is needed for you to be successful on the pitch. But endurance will help you get through the full 80 minutes of rugby and still be going as strong at the end of the game as you were at the beginning. When you can, add in 40 minutes or more of endurance work to strengthen your system. This can be cross training with swimming, running, cycling, even cross country skiing in the off season. It's crucial that your system can handle 80 minutes of exercise without quitting on you.
Many of these elements will be incorporated into your team practices. Add in those parts where you feel deficient to your off nights, and you'll be a star on the pitch in no time!