Rugby is a game for people of all shapes and sizes, but even the bulkiest of forwards needs to be able to last for a full 80 minutes on the pitch.
Although cardio fitness is important, exercises like running tend not to prepare people for Rugby – which is a high impact, fast paced game. In this, our first fitness blog post, Dan J writes about some different ways to get your body ready to play Rugby Union.
Low impact, high intensity workouts
Low impact activities are great preparation for Rugby games as you can make great gains in fitness while minimising your risk of injury before your games.
If you have access to the facilities, group classes can really boost your fitness and get your body in the habit of changing the way you breathe depending on what you’re doing. Activities like spinning, HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes and circuit training are amongst the best, and many teams participate in them as groups or individuals.
If your gym doesn’t offer group classes, you can still use the equipment to your advantage. Instead of running at a constant speed for half an hour on the treadmill, try alternating jogging and sprinting in 45 second intervals for a total of 15 minutes. I guarantee you will be more tired afterwards! If you have access to a pool, try alternating lengths of a gentle stroke like breast stroke with a sprint stroke like front crawl or, if you’re feeling particularly masochistic, butterfly.
If you aren’t able to get down to the gym, though, there is plenty you can do without having to use equipment or rely on instructors. The Vulcans have started incorporating HIIT circuits into their training routines by having four or five rounds doing short bursts of different exercises. These were inspired by James Haskell, and only take about 15-20 minutes. An example could be five rounds of the following exercises:
20s press ups
20s sit ups
20s high knee running on the spot
20s ice skaters
When you’re designing your HIIT circuit, ensure you choose actives that work different parts of the body for each short burst. That way it will be a more beneficial whole body work out, and will enable you to put 100% effort into every exercise, even on the fifth round!
Stretched arms… strong!
When you’re done sweating it out, don’t forget to stretch! Stretching is a vital part of every exercise session – not only to reduce the risk of cramp and injury, but taking a few minutes to yourself and standing still can relieve you of stress and anxiety; and can set you up for the rest of your day. Not every muscle can be stretched, but ensure you hit the major muscle groups in your legs, arms, chest, and back.
With these high intensity workouts being so short, not having time is no longer an excuse not to be Ruck ready! Keep an eye out on the Sheffield Vulcans social media in the coming months for video tutorials on different exercises help you get Ruck ready.