Strenght training for Rugby player
First of all, hello there - this is my first post on the SS forums.
I've been playing Rugby for the past year, but as of now I am on a competitive team aiming for the Brazilian National Championship.
As such, I am currently researching to come up with a strenght training appropriated to a Rugby player (prop position). I have came up with a routine pretty much like SS and SL - squats, bench press, deadlift, row, overhead press (the big five) but still not sure about it or the appropriate assistance exercises. I have never made a weightlifting training designed to Rugby before.
The routine should also incorporate sprints and some high intensity, short duration cardio. My pratices take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at night, and I study at morning and work at the afternoon.
20 yrs old, been lifting for 2 years - Rugby for 1 year. 103kg, 1.77m, 20%BF.
Any help will be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance,
Strength training should be designed to make you strong. Rugby practice provides conditioning, and allows you to practice using your increasingly-strong body in your specific sport. In other words, there is no such thing as strength training for rugby. So, your strength training for rugby should be designed just like strength training for everything else -- it must be based on what training you've already done. If you're a novice, and you probably are, do a novice program, like the one outlined in BBT3.
See the 2011 Science Review: rugby trainers do these exercises called "squats," "deadlifts," and "power cleans," among others. They program for progress over time, as a function of where they are relative to their genetic potential. Weak rugby players gain strength quickly. Strong rugby players gain strength slowly.
Knuckles, as someone who played prop in rugby for about 15 years, I completely agree with Rip (and wish I had his book 20 years ago when I started playing seriously). Squat, dead lift, bench, press, cleans (basically, do the program) will set you up strength wise.
For conditioning, there is a fair bit of info out there, use a prowler/scrum machine, short sprints-hit the deck sprint and repeat.
And from one prop to another, focus on your scrum skills and technique. I've held my own against guys who were bigger and stronger due to my better technique, but if you have strength with good form you will enjoy it much more.
If you think you absolutely must have a "sport-specific" training program (whatever that means) buy The Strongest Shall Survive and mentally replace all instances of the word "football" with "rugby".
My brother in law used to play rugby at an international level (UK) and now plays for a premier club side. I was interested and pleased to see that all International players are tested and rated at various lifts, I think BP, clean and squat.
I once had a look at his (in season) training program and was disappointed (because I expected it to contain all sort of fancy stuff responsbile for turning them into incredible physical specimens) to see basically an upper/ lower split with each group worked for one major exercise with something like 4x8. No focus on the big, no isolation movements whatsoever.
To the OP- if you dont have any problem areas, I don't think you need an assistance work.
Well, the big 4 out of 5 anyway...
Originally Posted by Knuckledust
Agreed. Get strong. Run extra sprints after practice or use the scrum ,achine for conditioning.
For a prop, a strong neck is important, especially if you intend to use it to push your opponent out of square in the scrum. For the same reasons, strnegthening your triceps in the press will be very imprtant, as when you are horizontal to the ground in a scrum (as you should be, hips down) as grabbing your oppositions jersey and yanking him around requires a strong grip and tricep strneght.
Former lock here, and I also wish I had the benefit of Rip's advice when I was an active player. It would have been nice to be a solid 250 pounds rather than a spindly 215.
Knuckles--I have played for a lonnnngggg time, mostly at prop, and currently coach a college side with national championship ambitions, and the select sides for my home state and the high school union (helps with recruiting.
To reiterate--what Rip said is dead on, and like a previous poster I wish I had this knowledge when I was playing competitively.
Distinguish between off season and on. When it is off season, and the players have from 9-12 weeks before practice starts, we ask them to focus for the first 6-8 weeks on nothing but strength training, with a little speed work. The idea is to let nothing get in the way of developing size and strength for that time period. We use essentially starting strength--very few of the players have really progressed beyond novice lifters when we first get them. We give them other stuff if they are ready for it--but all the programs involve the big five with multiple work sets and 5 or fewer repetitions.
For the last 2-6 weeks before the season we begin hard interval training with some short distance (1-2 miles at most, run as hard as possible) along with sprints. We cut weights back to twice a week if necessary for recovery--some guys keep up lifting 3 times because they like it. We expect them to at least progress slowly during this period--just not as fast as during the strength focus.
In season--press and squat one day, bench and dead lift the other, always allowing at least 2 days of rest (from weights) before a match. We are not looking to gain (although that sometimes happens) more not to lose ground.
For interval work or GPP--there are like a million programs out there--I am sure your coach must have something he likes. The key is that pure distance won't get it done, efforts of 5-60 seconds with a 1/1, 1/2, 1/3 or even 2/1 (on occasion) work to rest ratio will.
Running is a key--but rowing and biking, ellipticals can be used for bigger guys to spare joint pounding on an occasional basis for longer efforts. I know coaches who swear by crossfit--and I think it is good GPP, but not good for strength development.
The lifting is your investment--"savings" if you will in becoming a better, more dominant and injury free player in the future. The interval work is how you get better right now, and will help next weeks game.
You must do both to become a champion.
I'm a long-time rugby player currently playing for the Glendale Raptors. I've played hooker for most of my career, but I have played a far amount of prop since moving to Denver as my current team prefers more mobile, technically sound props over the less-skilled big bruisers (not that you can't have big guys who are also technically sound). I remember playing the Brazilian National Team when I lived in Florida. I know that competition against Argentina and Chile are tough for you guys, but your side is improving greatly.
The recommendations given above are correct. I will second the recommendation of The Strongest Shall Survive. I wish I had found it earlier in my career. Starr covers in-season and out-of-season workouts. Like most of the world, you have two practices in the week and a game on Saturday. That means you can probably stick with the workout based around the Big 5 during the season if your recovery is okay. Assistance exercises depend on you position. A strong neck and core are key to scrumming. Clean and press is good for line-out lifting. I've actually found that hand grippers like Captains of Crush (or the cheaper, GNC knock-off) help with the grip you need as a front lifter. Those hand exercises can be done at off-moments throughout your day.
For cardio, I like tireflips. It is pretty similar to the toll rucks and mauls place on you cardio-wise. Remember that your cardio should be short burst, not long, slow jogging (like you said). It is a rare day that you see a prop make a 80 meter run for a try. That said, the days of props being there solely for scrums and lineouts are gone. You are expected to be much more mobile in the modern game.