Sunday, 27 January 2013

Pre season tips for Rugby.

Top 10 Pre-season Rugby Tips on Training

1. Develop an overall fitness base before training. Before trying to emulate what top players and top teams do in their training, ensure that you have got an adequate fitness base. The ability to run with a normal gait, and the ability to perform basic strength training exercises through a full range of movement are key before trying to put the body under load and stress. Fartlek running is a good way to build up your endurance. Performa sets of walking, jogging and running for 15 seconds each, repeating for more sets until you can do this for 30 minutes total, which will help prepare you for more specific training.

2. General strength before specific strength. Circuit training is an ideal way to start your strength training base, using body weight exercises to start. Try to perform as many different types of exercise as you can, using your upper and lower body as well as trunk and whole body exercises such as the burpee. Then move on to using medicine balls, dumbbells and other implements such as sandbags or tyres. After that, use barbells to develop maximal strength and then use all of the above methods to help develop power and speed by using faster movements with lighter weights.

3. Separate endurance training and strength training. It is difficult to improve strength and power at the same time, unless you are a complete beginner. Rugby needs a good endurance level to allow the work rate to remain high during multiple phases of play. It also requires speed and power and the ability to change direction at pace. Strength training is essential to help prevent injury and provide the stimulus to improve speed and power. Try working one month at a time with an emphasis on each component; in the endurance month you may have 8-12 sessions devoted to endurance type training and 2-4 sessions devoted to strength maintenance. In the following month try the reverse, with 8-12 strength sessions and 2-4 endurance sessions.

4. Strength training is not bodybuilding or weightlifting. Your training should replicate the demands of the game. Single joint lifts can be used early on to ensure joint strength and left/right balance within the body, but more complicated lifts should be used later on. Similarly just doing weightlifting exercises such as the clean or snatch will mean that you work only in one plane of movement. Look to vary between strength, power and muscular endurance because all 3 are needed.

5. Small-sided games and activities are better than straight line running. Time is limited when training, especially for amateur players, so the opportunity to combine skill work with fitness work should be taken as long as neither purpose is compromised. Several studies have shown that small-sided games in sports are as or more effective than repeated straight line running. The risk of injury is less when playing games such as 2v2 or 3 v3 than when doing repeated intervals. The exact cause is not known, but could be due to the variety of the movement patterns. Monotony of training can lead to overtraining and risk of injury. Having smaller games allows all the players to participate and be active within the game. Changing the pitch size and overloading attack or defence also allows different players to work at different rates.

6. Train on the floor. A lot of time in rugby, especially rugby league, is spent getting up and down from the floor. Working on the floor and moving around on the floor should be incorporated into your warm up and also your training sessions. Commando crawling, crawling, tiger crawling, forward rolls, sideways rolls, wrestling on your back and in kneeling are all examples of work that can be done. Running and putting your chest on the floor every 5-10metres is very fatiguing. Adding different movements at the 30second and 1 minute marks can add further variety.

7. Flexibility should change depending on the time of day. Flexibility improves with stretching, but the type of stretching performed should vary. Ballistic stretching that starts off in a controlled fashion and gradually gets more rigorous should be done first thing in the morning. Dynamic stretching that takes the body through greater ranges of motion that mimics the demands of playing should be done was part of your warm up. Isometric stretching takes place after strength training and involves a contraction of the muscle before the stretch takes place. Static stretching should be done in the evening post-exercise and allows muscles to be taken gradually to a point of mild stretch and held for up 60 seconds at a time.

8. Hydration should take place before and after training as well as matches. If you are dehydrated before you start training or playing, you will not be able to make up for it during the match. It is better to remain hydrated throughout the day and arrive at the match or training fit to play. Half time and injury breaks should be used to sip fluid and rehydrate. Post-match fluid intake is key to help recover before the next session. A rough guide is to take on 1.5 litres of fluid for every kilogram lost during the match.

9. Time of fuel is important. There are two key points to take on fuel post-match. Some food should be taken within 15 minutes of finishing that has a protein and carbohydrate base. A meal should be consumed within 2 hours of finishing. Food taken at these times helps restore muscle glycogen rapidly into the muscles. After two hours or so, the recovery process is a lot slower and your body may not have restored its energy supply before the next session.

10. Limit your alcohol intake. All the good work in the gym and on the pitch will not be as effective if you consume too much alcohol, which can affect your training for up to three days after you have drunk it. In particular, high intakes may limit your body’s ability to synthesise protein, restricting muscle and tissue repair and growth.
Last updated: 16-01-2013
I Move FreelyBiomechanics Coach

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