How to Get Fit for Rugby

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

Lifting in the gym is important to rugby conditioning, but to get to the point of being in shape for a rugby training running is your best bet. Running can and should be a brutal process at times, we're the only species in the animal kingdom that can run long distance! So might as well take advantage of our evolutionary advantage right? Run run run as much as possible, but have method to the madness.

Step 2

Runs should vary in length and intensity, and should be done about 4-5 times a week. We'll break up the runs into three categories- long distance, intensity distance, and sprints. In the following steps, I'll outline several exercises that satisfy these categories.

Step 3

Long Distance- The goal of distance running is to improve cardio, and burn fat. Strive to run two 3-5 mile runs a week. These can be done on a track or a local running trail. Either is fine as long as you know how long you're running so you can time improvement. These runs should take between 20-40 minutes. An average of a 7 minute mile pace is ideal.

Step 4

Intensity runs- Only do about 1 of these a week and change it up. I have 3 intensity routines I like to cycle through, weighted runs, 2 miles, and 220s. Weighted runs- run 1-1.5 miles with a 40lbs weighted vest. Push yourself the whole time, remember 1 mile isn't that long so go all out. 2 miles- not quite long enough to be in the distance category. Run this like its a race. Try to do it in under 12 minutes, that's a sub 6 minutes mile! 220s- Short for 220 meters, these can be done on a football or rugby field. Start in a corner of the field, run to the goal post on the opposite end and back to the corner on the other side of where you started so that you make a big V running down and back. Try to do these in under 40 seconds and start with a set of six with about a minute rest. Try to add two more every few weeks.

Step 5

Sprints- Try to do a sprint workout 1 or 2 times a week. I have a lot of different sprint routines and I try to do about 2 for every workout. I often include some sort of body weight exercise with these too such as squats or push ups. 100s- Simply put a hundred meter sprint. I like to do 20 body squats, sprint 100 meters, walk back and repeat 10 times. 40s- 40 meter sprints. Do these on a timed interval. 10 seconds to run it, 10 seconds rest. Try for a set of 18 20s- 20 meter sprints. Start from a low body position and focus on quick acceleration. I tend to do 10 push ups or surfers, sprint 20 meters, walk back and repeat for 2 sets of 5. Always go all out every sprint! Using a speed chute is another great way to increase the intensity of your sprint workouts.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

With all this running it is crucial that you stay well hydrated! Drink a gallon of water a day. Stretching is important too. It's not necessary to stretch before each run, but stretching daily in the evenings, mornings, or both is ideal. Invest in a quality pair of running shoes, and do the sprints either barefoot or in cleats. If anything starts to bother you, especially on your lower body, stop running and see a doctor. Running is an extremely healthy exercise but doing it 5 times a week can increase the risk of injury. Happy Trails!

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Funny or interesting story about this topic...

Rugby, kind of like soccer, is the type of sport that seems to be in season more than it is out of season. That being the case, once you're a committed, in-shape rugby player you won't have a long enough off season to get out of shape again. However, people who have never played rugby before will find the training and conditioning unlike anything they've ever done, even athletes from other sports aren't able to deny the intensity. So, obviously, before jumping in to a full on training it is a good idea to have some sort of base level of fitness.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

When I started playing rugby I knew very little about the sport. Thankfully I had a slight passion for fitness (although at the time this was a new passion) and I enjoyed running more than most other activities. This was good because I soon found out that rugby, especially practices, is about 96% running. Rugby is often compared to American Football, but unlike gridiron, there is very little stoppage of play in rugby. Football players exert themselves for about 15 seconds at a time and then have about a minute to rest up before the next play. Rugby players are expected to be giving it their all for 80 minutes!

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