Rugby fitness largely depends on the ability to recycle bouts of intense effort and work interspersed with periods of low intensity rest and recuperation. However, what happens when you get hit?
This is what separates rugby fitness from the rest of the sports.
Getting fit for rugby means also including the element of contact. My old school master used to call it contact fitness or match fitness as it is better known.
However, training for this is no easy task.
Here are my top three methods for including rugby fitness specific contact drills:
1) Up downs
Rugby is best played on your feet. On the floor out of the game. Getting fit for rugby means being able to get back to your feet as quickly as possible and being able to repeat this. So, if rugby fitness is your priority then include games with forfeits that include the dreaded up-down. This is performed when a player hits the deck, lie on the back and springs back to their feet without using their arms.
2) Tackle Bag Hit and Carries
Make a tackle by hitting the shield and then replicate this effort by sprinting back 5 m to make another hit. Repeating this for up to 10 repetitions or timed sets will work wonders for that element of up down match fitness. This is guaranteed to turn a few lads green.
3) Resisted Tackles
This is great for explosive power off the side of a scrum or ruck and is best done in the gym or can be performed from the side of a post. The player attaches himself via a bungee to the fixing and walks out so that there is tension on the band. Keeping tension on the band the player can then hit and drive in to a pad or perform resisted jumps or wrestle a ball from a player on the ground. The point is to develop rugby fitness this has to be performed under resistance.
Again we have experimented with sets of 15 jumps and wrestles - tough stuff. try and implement after skill work to allow for maximum skill implementation.
John Lark M.A CSCS is author of Get Fit for Rugby. You can download his free email course covering all aspects of strongman, strength speed and fitness for rugby at http://www.getfitforrugby.com
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