When one typically thinks of an athlete, it is perfectly normal to think about someone who has quite a bit of muscle mass on their body. Muscles are typically associated with some form of athleticism, and of course rugby is an excellent example of a sport that requires an enormous amount of athleticism from those playing. But the question that comes to a lot of people is whether or not too much muscle can hold someone back from competing effectively in rugby. That is a question that we will be addressing here in this article as we answer the question of whether or not being “bulky” can hold you back on the rugby field.
First we should address what exactly defines bulky. Of course the answer here is going to vary just a little bit from person to person, as everyone has different tastes in how the perceive someone’s body. However, there comes a point when a person is putting on muscle mass where most people are going to agree that they are getting to the stage that would definitely be considered a little bulky. Whether it is for the better or worse, most people would agree someone who comes in at 6 foot and 200 lbs. lean would be pretty bulky.
So if muscles are perceived as something that is inherently athletic, then how could one think that it could be a disadvantage to those playing on the rugby field? Well the answer here is simple, after putting on so much muscle mass you will get to the point where you will be hindered by its size, which will negatively affect your on-field performance. This is something that is almost completely unavoidable, it just is a matter of how much muscle mass you are talking about. The idea behind this is that having a lot of muscle mass will slow you down on the field and make you less agile as a player, something that is never good for a rugby player. While muscle mass does weigh a lot, you have to remember that it has a purpose as well, and that is to give the person a lot of strength and power. Anyone who has been on a long bulk and plays rugby or any type of sport would be able to tell you that their performance got hindered but adding too much mass. From personal experience I can clarify this. There must be an equilibrium between strength, speed and power to become the best athlete you can be. Strength training alone won’t improve your overall play, speed work and also hypertrophy must be implemented into your training regime. This will give you a good balance between muscle mass, strength and speed which will overall help you improve as a player.
A force of a hit in rugby can effectively be measured by the amount of momentum the player carries. If a person weighing 180 lbs. strikes a target at 8 miles per hour, he will be carrying more force with him than a person weighing just 160 lbs. at 6 miles per hour. So with this in mind, if you can prevent the added weight of the muscle mass you have put on from slowing you down, then bulkiness won’t just not be a disadvantage, but it can actually be a huge help.
To put it simply, with more bulkiness you will be able to strike the opponent with more force, something that will always be a huge help. However, the moment that any muscle mass makes you less agile and slows you down, that is when it becomes a disadvantage on the field.