5 training lessons you can learn from rugby players

Rugby has a lot to teach all of us, from skills and tactics, manners and sportsmanship through to endurance and diet. Every time they play, rugby players are pushing themselves to the limit, so they must be in peak condition physically. Here are some lessons you can take from them to take your training up a notch.

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Cardio is Always King

It’s easy to look at the muscle on rugby players and think they must spend all their time pumping iron, but they also spend 80 minutes running around the pitch, so being fit is vital. However tempting it might be to focus either or endurance or sprints, mix it up and get as close to a real life situation as you can: shuttles, sprints and distances. It’s also a better way to keep burning fat – you keep your body guessing.

Lift Weights

Forget “little and often,” rugby players need to lift big. But still often. To get the biggest benefit, you’ll need to be doing compound movements that engage lots of different muscle groups. Work in ‘pyramid’ repetitions, so start with six reps and rest, five reps and rest, down to one and then back up again.

Diet

You must be eating the right food to build muscle, and whilst carb-loading is good at some points along the way, eating lots or rice and pasta is not always the best way to bulk up. Add extra fruit which contain carbohydrates from natural sugars instead.

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Push Yourself

A ‘favourite’ drill in the rugby player’s repertoire is the bleep test – shuttle sprints between two points to before the bleep sounds. It starts slowly and then the pace builds so that each repetition is tougher than the previous one.

Rugby IQ goes into more detail about some of the principles around training for rugby in particular, to inspire your own rugby drills.

If you prefer not to create your own rugby drills, there are some available ‘off the shelf’ online with specialists like Sport Plan https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/.

Stay Tough

Rugby players are committed. There’s no giving the gym a miss because it’s wet outside. They’re dedicated to maintaining their peak condition and they work for it, often playing on through serious injury rather than leave the park. Think about it next time you’re tempted to bunk off.