Fitness is vital for any level of rugby - but it becomes even more important at the club level. Both strength and endurance are key to a successful rugby season. Additionally, it is proven that injury strikes most during fatigue. Consider the following factors of a typical rugby game*:
- The ball is in play about 30 minutes.
- The remaining time is spent walking and waiting.
- "Play" is made up of 100-150 discrete activities.
- 85% of these activities last less than 15 seconds.
- 50% of these activities last less than 10 seconds.
- Continuous play lasting more than 30 seconds is rare.
- Recovery time between activities averages less than 40 seconds.
- There are 30-40 scrums and 60-70 lineouts, each of 15-20 seconds.
- Forwards spend 50% of their activity in scrums and lineouts, the rest in support.
- Forwards cover 4-6 miles during a game and require more endurance work.
- Backs have the ball in hand less than 60 seconds total time.
- Backs cover 4-5 miles in a game, 30% (primarily on attack) sprinting, the rest walking and jogging into position for continuity. They require more speed work.
*facts taken from Boca Ratton Rugby
Sprint Workouts (2 days per week--20-25 minutes)
Do two of these a week - one should be running (preferably outside) and one can be done on the bike or eliptical machine.
These workouts should be short in duration but high in intensity.
Start with a 5-10 minute warmup.
Alternate 30 seconds of sprinting with one minute of rest for 15 minutes.
(it is best to do sprint workouts on lifting days that don't involve the legs)
Endurance (2 days per week--45 minutes-1 hour)
If you haven't been running much start with a half hour job and add a few minutes each week. These workouts should not be about speed but about distance and time spent running.
It is NOT RECOMMEND doing endurance runs on a treadmill - they change your stride and can lead to knee/ankle problems. Bundle up and get outside!
Cross Training (1 day per week - time varies)
This type of training adds to your overall cardio abilitiy while using different kinds of muscles that you might not specifically use in rugby. This could be a game of pick-up basketball or an aerobics class or swimming. This increases your overall fitness while making sure that you aren't over training certain muscle groups.
Flexability, Balance and Core Strength: (1 hour per week)
This is an area often over looked but it can really have an impact on muscle growth and overall fitness.
- plank pose
Do some sort of yoga or streching every week, especially after an endurance run. This will help muscle soreness and recovery as well as balance.
Don't forget everyone's favorite a DAY OFF! One day a week should be set aside for doing nothing--it is important to allow your body to rest, recooperate, and rebuild from all the workouts you have been doing. If you don't rest you cannot grow stronger (this goes for sleep too!).