After a summer of holidays, overeating, beer and the occasional BBQ, attention begins to turn to the dreaded pre-season training. The initial thoughts of pre-season are usually ‘shit, need to get fit, lets go for a long plodding run’. But why is this seen as the norm? Lets take a step back for a minute and compare the game of rugby to this type of training that we do. What are the similarities? None, bar the run we do to the changing rooms or when being substituted, so why do we continue to use this type of training when it resembles what a marathon runner does, when a rugby player needs to be big, strong, powerful and fast? It makes no sense and doesn’t offer the required stimulus or overload situations, which are fundamental principles of training. With the development of sports science, GPS monitors and readily available literature, there is no reason that specific training cannot be implemented by amateur players as well as the professionals.
Rugby is a multifaceted sport that requires the individual to have a high level of fitness and on point rugby nutrition. Fitness can be described as the ability to meet the demands of ones environment and within the sport of rugby these demands are broad and range from the physical to the psychological. As the sport of rugby evolves so do the training methods and the scientific rigour with which they are applied. There is a much greater focus on the physiological effects of training and playing than in previous years and this will only lead to better results. The key to training for any sport is the transference of results in the gym to on the field performances and during my personal rugby career I found this had a huge influence on my training. Crossfit rugby can help spice up your training and give you a different king of workout.
Although the devout fans of each sport will adamantly say otherwise, American football and Rugby have a lot in common. Both are fast-moving, hard-hitting sports that require an enormous amount of brute strength along with having a lot of endurance to keep you going on the playing field. In fact, the drills that are used in both sports can be applied to one another to help offer those that are playing the sport, something new and refreshing to use during practice. With all the similarities that American football and rugby have in common, it would make a lot of sense for those playing rugby to try and experiment with drills that are popular in NFL teams, which is what we are going to be reviewing here in this article.
A lot of becoming a good rugby player is about the speed at which you can travel around the field. Just like any other sport, those that can run at an above-average speed are going to have a much, much larger advantage over those that are just average speed. So doing some of the different variations of the sprint would be an excellent starting point for anyone who is looking to become a better rugby player. The 40 yard dash is probably the most celebrated of these exercise and is generally viewed as the benchmark for a player’s speed, but that does not necessarily mean that it is always going to deliver the best results to the player. Doing weighted sprints or uphill sprints are both excellent choices for anyone who is looking to drastically improve their performance on the field, along with their overall speed. Both are not easy when it comes to the amount of effort that goes into them. As you might have heard, lower body strength plays a huge role in how effective you are as a rugby player, and after a good uphill sprints session, you are definitely going to feel it in your lower body.
3 Cone Drill
Another grill drill that is commonly seen in the NFL is something called the “3 cone drill”. While the speed of the player is a huge part of how good they are, being able to quickly change their direction at a moment’s notice is something that will always help them out. The exact practice for the 3 cone drill will vary depend on who you ask, but it always involves the player running at high speeds around the cones where they are set up in a fashion that requires the person in question to take quick and sharp turns, all while being timed.
20-yard shuttle run
Another popular drill used in the NFL is the 20-yard shuttle run. It is also called the 5-10-5, the player must burst 5 yards to the right, then 10 yards to the left then another 5 to the right which is the finish line. This drill helps show how good a player can accelerate, change direction and also decelerate. Doing this drill in training and doing the test to monitor progress would be a great addition to any rugby players training. In rugby you are constantly changing direction while defending and that burst of acceleration in different directions would be a great asset to add to your arsenal.
The Bench Press Drill
It’s all good being able to bench press a heavy weight for 1 rep but muscular endurance is what is needed in both NFL and Rugby. A popular NFL drill is the bench press drill, which requires the player to bench press 225 pounds ( 100kg ) as many times as possible. As a rugby player it may be a good idea to do this drill ever few months to see if muscular endurance is increasing, if not you may need to change up your training and implement higher reps for better muscular endurance.
The similarities between Rugby and American Football are often seen in what the players are doing on the field. So with that in mind, it makes a lot of sense to use the drills found on popular NFL teams for Rugby practices. If you want to become a better rugby player, it may be best to look to the NFL to see if you can find something fresh for practice, just as the NFL should do the same to rugby.
To all too many people, the boots that are worn during a rugby match are there simply to make sure that you aren’t barefoot. This is a pretty common misconception, as the boots that are worn during a match can seem deceptively unimportant, although that is clearly not the case as you dig a little bit deeper. Everything about what you are wearing during a rugby match is, believe it or not, going to have an effect on your on-field performance. So with that in mind, it would make a lot of sense to wear the correct boots when you are playing rugby so that you aren’t held back in terms of your performance, and that is precisely what we are going to be covering here in this article as we talk about why taking the time to pick out some good boots is a good idea.
Let’s start with the obvious and simple stuff, with that being the fitting of the boot. It doesn’t take a seasoned rugby player to know that if your boots don’t properly fit you, you aren’t going to be able to reach your maximum potential on the field. When you’re shopping around for some new boots, be sure to take a lot of time to make sure that you are comfortable in your new boots. While one may feel nice and comfortable at first when you are at the store, a lot of the time that will change when you start playing on the field. So don’t just put them on, wear these new shoes and walk around to make sure that they are absolutely perfect in terms of fitting, because anything short of perfect may end up hurting your performance on the field, which is never a good thing.
Of course there is a lot more to the important of wearing the correct rugby boots than just the fitting. The weight also plays a huge factor in how effective they are, and if you want to get the very best out of your rugby boots, then you should start with the weight that they are. Some people might notice that running barefoot is not only easier than in tennis shoes, but it also reduces the impact on the foot. This is in part because of how one runs while barefoot, but it also has to do with the fact that you are free of the weight of the shoe when running barefoot, which effectively allows you to run at a faster rate. And it isn’t much of a secret to know that speed is a universally good thing when on the rugby field, so the faster the player is, the more effective they are going to be.as a rugby player. Companies like Nike, Puma and Adidas have been focusing on the weight of their boots for years, they know it’s importance but they also know the importance of durability, we don’t want to pay £100 for boots that only last half a season.
While we are on the topic of durability, forwards must look at different type of boots to backs. I say this because forwards boots are most likely to get trampled on every game. With the technology out now and the standard of boots, forwards can also find light, durable boots.
So with everything that has been mentioned in this guide, you should be much more prepared to make the right decisions when it comes to what boots you are going to be wearing for practice and during matches.
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There are a lot of different aspects to becoming an effective and useful player on the rugby field. Balancing strength on the field with the amount of endurance you have is something that all players have to worry about, although most don’t have a problem finding a good medium between the two. However, you are going to have a hard time becoming a useful player on the field if you can’t keep a good grip on the ball once you are in possession of it. Fortunately if you are one of the many with this problem, it is a problem that is easily fixed with the right cure, which is what we are going to be reviewing in this article on increasing your grip strength for better ball control.
Generally speaking, the strength of your grip can be broken down into two different groups of your muscles. For one, strong forearms are required to have a sure grip on the ball, but that is not the only part in making sure that you don’t lose possession of the ball once you get it. Ball security can also be attributed to the bicep, as a good rugby player should be able to steadfastly secure it close to their body, which will be done so with the bicep muscle. In fact, ball security is one of the common rebuttals to those that often say the bicep muscle has no real-world application or use.
So then, if you want to increase the amount of grip strength that you have on the ball, then it would be best to split your time between doing exercises that are specifically for your bicep strength, and then for your forearm strength. Forearms can be a difficult thing to do for some people, as it is more often than not a pretty stubborn muscle to train. However, there are grips that are specifically designed to help strengthen your forearm muscles, ones that are usually designed on requiring the user to squeeze something together. Progress may be a little bit slower than you would want when working with these exercises, but the point here is to be consist with what you are doing, so that a few weeks from now you will have forearms that are capable of much more strength and grip than before.
Of course as we have said earlier the forearm’s role in ball security is only a part of the equation. There is still the role of the bicep that is a part of making sure once you get a hold of the ball, you don’t let go of it. Bicep curls may sound like a good choice here because of them being one of the more popular bicep exercises, but instead consider using pullups. Pullups have been used for quite a while as an effective strength gainer for the arms, but it is also a compound lift just like the squat or deadlift, meaning that it is going to deliver results with far more efficacy than something like doing bicep curls over and over.