Conditioning fundamentals – Part 3

 In part 1, we looked at the foundations of rugby training and base level conditioning that should be key to any rugby coaching you do with your players. In part 2 we went deep to look at what was underneath the reasons why one person succeeds yet others do not. This was about the factors underneath the surface. If you are looking to greatly improve your performance then the base levels of conditioning are a must but then their success will be limited by these factors.

Here in part 3 we are talking about certain training protocols to produce specific outcomes to give you an idea of how things fit together.

Training protocols for training outcomes

While many players may embark on a gym programme what one does compared to the next could be completely different. The average rugby player that does use a gym simply follows some kind of body building type routine, 8-12 reps focusing on upper body with a leg session every couple of weeks. While this certainly is better than nothing it leaves so much room for improvement.

A rugby player seeking to increase his strength in the scrum could embark on a month long strength phase. Targeting 4 reps per set, 3-4 sets per exercise with long rest periods. This could be done 2-3 times per week. To mimmick the demands of a scrum they could use a routine of Deadlifts, Leg press and Split squats. Adhering to strict form with these exercises they could massively increase strength over a month without risking injury. The results on the pitch would be massive compared to that normal routine.

If you do need to gain muscle then drop in a month hypertrophy phase. Daily gym sessions, using a 3 day split routine of day 1 – push, day 2- pull, day 3 – legs, you could gain significant amounts of muscle in 4 weeks.

If we were to examine an outdoor routine then most rugby players simply go for a run 20-30minutes (of those who do train in their own time). While this is certainly better than nothing it leaves a lot on the table. A 4 week aerobic phase could have 2 x 2km runs on a Monday with 6 minutes recovery, while Wednesday could be a 3km 1 minute faster: 1 minute slower intervals. Saturday morning could be 400m repeats, 6 x 400m with 2 minutes rest. This routine would send your aerobic fitness through the roof.

If a rugby player does sprints then they will usually fall back on a classic 10 X 100m with about 30-60 secs rests. While this again is much better than doing nothing it is an effort that could bring much greater returns. They could in a month long speed phase focus on the mechanics of running (easiest way to get quicker) while working on agility movements and plyometrics. This could be followed by a sprints matrix of 40-60-100-120 with 2-4 mins rest.

The priority of rugby training is simple –

1)      Follow a plan that covers all the areas needed for success.

2)      Develop this plan to adapt month to month with intelligent programme design

3)      Cover the below the surface factors to break fitness plateaus or to supercharge results.

The Star Performer Blueprint is the first and only Rugby Performance Course that addresses the keys to programme design amongst the othe critiical factors for success discuseed in parts 1 and 2.

Agree? Disagree? Have a thought to share? Comment below, it is always good to hear from you.