A physical game, rugby requires intense athleticism and strength. Competitive rugby players need to be fit and powerful to be successful. While certain players have good genetics for a build suitable for rugby, most have to work hard to get in proper shape to play the game. Smaller athletes may have to gain weight to perform at a higher standard. When you gain weight for rugby, you have to gain muscle, since a gain from fat will hurt performance.
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Stick to your weight training schedule and add intensity or volume to it. Increase the sets, repetitions or amounts that you're already doing to build muscle.
Increase your calorie intake. During pre-season training, elite rugby players require somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 calories a day. The average diet, in contrast, consists of about 2,000 to 2,500 daily calories.
Eat the right foods, ones that contain mostly protein and fat. Rugby players need 1g of protein for every pound of body weight to build muscle. Sources of protein include chicken, fish, red meat, cottage cheese and whey. While players should avoid trans and hydrogenated fats, as well as saturated fats, the long-chain omega-3 fats are essential to building muscle. Good sources of these omega-3s include cold-water fish such as salmon, as well as nuts and seeds. Other healthy fat sources include hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, flaxseed, avocado and almonds.
Carry snacks throughout the day that you can eat quickly. Pack items such as protein bars, sandwiches or nuts. Slip several snacks into your rugby gear bag so that you can grab one on the go. Another option is to drink your calories -- milk and protein shakes provide plenty of quick protein for rugby players.
Get plenty of sleep to perform well in practice and games. Rest also helps build muscle, via the growth hormones released during sleep. Aim to get eight or more hours of sleep a night.