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How to get Rugby World Cup fit

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How to get Rugby World Cup fit

The typical rugby match may only last 80 minutes, but you’ll need to put in hours of training if you’re going to stand any chance of success on the playing field.

Fitness, strength and power are all crucial, so follow our handy training guide below to ensure you’re at your physical peak before match day.

Group train and gain

Nobody wants to be the worst player on the field. However, watching someone outperform you is a sure fire way to kick-start your motivation.

Working out with friends will make you more determined than ever to push yourself. Even if you’ve already secured the top spot, the added pressure means you’ll have to keep improving to stay ahead of your training buddies.

Keep a record of each person’s performance — for example, sprint times — and enjoy a spot of friendly competition.

Work out the benefits

While you should develop your all round fitness, it is also wise to create specific workouts that will directly benefit you on the field. Think of the demands of the game and the skills you’ll need to perform accordingly in your chosen position.

Below, you’ll find some core exercises you should include in your workout and their benefits.

Plyometric push up

Plyometric push ups are great for strengthening your chest and shoulder muscles, which will help you deliver power for pushing in scrums and throwing the ball.

    How to do it:
  1. Start in a press up position, supporting your weight on your toes and hands. Ensure your arms are fully extended.
  2. Keeping your body straight, lower your chest towards the floor by flexing at the elbow.
  3. Rapidly extend your arms, pushing your upper body up so your hands leave the floor.
  4. Repeat.
Tip: Make the exercise harder by adding claps in-between your hands leaving the floor and returning to the ground. The more claps, the harder it is! Those up for the challenge can also let their feet leave the floor too.

Overhead slam

Overhead slams are a great way of working your latissimus dorsi, the largest of the three muscles in your back. To do them, you’ll need a medicine ball and a strong floor!

    How to do it:
  1. Stand with your feet at shoulder width and hold a medicine ball with both hands.
  2. Raise the ball above your head, extending your body.
  3. Forcefully throw the ball against the floor in front of you, catching it with both hands on the rebound.
  4. Repeat.
Tip: Set a timer on your phone for 1 minute and see how many slams you can do in that time. Record your score and use it as your benchmark each time you do them.

Squat jumps

A powerful lower body is important for almost all aspects of rugby, especially sprinting and tackling. Squat jumps are fantastic for building up these muscles, as the plyometric component will increase the strength and efficiency of your fast twitch fibres; resulting in both strength and speed gains.

Squat jumps onto box

    How to do it:
  1. Place a stable and secure box or bench at your feet.
  2. Lower yourself to a quarter squat position.
  3. Quickly extend your hips and legs to jump onto the box while swinging your arms.
  4. Step off the box and repeat.
Tip: Depending on your ability, you may need to start with a lower box as the higher the box the more difficult the exercise is. Those up for an even tougher challenge should do a burpee before each box jump.

Lateral squat jumps onto box

    How to do it:
  1. Place a stable and secure box or bench to the side of your feet.
  2. Lower yourself to a quarter squat position.
  3. Quickly extend your hips and legs to jump onto the box while swinging your arms.
  4. Step off the box and repeat.
Tip: Challenge yourself by placing a box to either side of your feet. Use them to jump from side to side, fully working out both legs.

Sprints

Speed is crucial in rugby and sprinting will help you develop both your acceleration and endurance. Incorporate the following into your training regime:

    Press sprints

    Start the exercise by completing a set of 8-12 press ups before immediately sprinting a distance — 50 metres is a good target. This mimics gameplay, where you’ll need to be quick off the ground to get an advantage over the opposite team.

    Flying sprints

    Combining short bursts of sprinting with periods of walking or jogging will help to improve your lactate tolerance, which will help you to recover more quickly and allow you to maintain a high work rate for a longer period.

    Longer sprints

    Longer sprints can be used to enhance your overall speed over the field. Try altering your pace to provide variation as your work out; mix up sprints to include reps at 70, 80, 90 and 100% of your maximum effort.


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