Rugby is a full-contact team sport that has a wide variety of physical demands. Strength, power, fitness, agility and skill are all required in equal measure. One best way to train for rugby, according to rugby fitness coach Ben Wilson, is to perform regular circuit training workouts. Circuit training describes a style of workout where exercises are performed back-to-back with little or no rest taken until you have completed all the exercises for the required number of repetitions or duration. A number of effective exercises may be used in rugby circuit training.
Performed with a barbell, dumbbells or sandbag, power cleans will develop whole body explosive strength. Stand behind your weight and bend down so that your legs are bent, but your feet are flat on the floor. Grasp the weight with both hands, your hands placed outside your knees. Using the legs and keeping your arms straight, drive up and lift the weight from the floor. As the weight approaches your hip height, pull with the arms and raise the weight to shoulder level, rotating your hands so that they are now beneath the weight. Under control, lower the weight back to the floor and repeat.
During rugby, you are often required to jump. For example, you will need to jump when you are contesting a line-out or trying to catch the ball in the air. Squat jumps will enhance your jumping ability. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides. Push your hips backward while simultaneously reaching back with your arms. Swing your arms forward and jump as high as you can. Land with your knees bent and your weight on the balls of your feet. Descend immediately into the squat position and repeat the exercise.
To perform a clapping push-up, adopt the regular push-up position with your hands directly below your shoulders, your legs out straight and your weight supported on your hands and toes only. Rapidly, bend your arms and descend so that your chest lightly touches the floor. Immediately, push back up as hard as you can so that your hands leave the floor. While in mid-air, quickly clap your hands and land on slightly bent elbows. Drop straight back down until your chest is touching the floor and repeat. This is an explosive exercise to develop upper body power and should be performed at a rapid cadence.
Medicine Ball Sit-Up Throws
Core strength and power are important to rugby players and the medicine ball sit-up throw is an effective exercise. Lying on the floor, hold a medicine ball in both hands. Place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Hold the ball above head height. Lower yourself down to the ground. Use your arms and core together, sit up and throw the ball to your training partner. Your training partner should catch and return the ball by throwing it to your outstretched arms, so that you can repeat the exercise. If you do not have a training partner available, this exercise can be performed against a sturdy wall instead.
- "Rugby Fitness Training;" Ben Wilson; 2006
- "Complete Conditioning For Rugby;" Dan Luger and Paul Pook; 2004