The 2015 Rugby World Cup has arrived. Six head cracking weeks of entertainment as the England Team kick off their campaign. With the hosts taking on Fiji on home turf with their opening game at Twickenham, we take a look at the top 3 strength and conditioning exercises every Rugby player should know what ever your level of ability and sporting achievement. So how do you compete with professional Rugby players who also have the huge advantage of time, additional support from sports therapist, psychologist, nutritionists and coaches. It’s simple.. You can’t! One thing you can do is improve productivity in your training routine to achieve more with less.
Strength equals power and bottom line, power helps you to run faster. If your running faster, you have the advantage over the bunch of hairy, scary guys chasing you down. The ball stays in your hands, not theirs. Strength helps you keep hold of the ball once you’ve got it too, try dragging the ball out the arms of a player more powerful than you and you’ll look like a your 10 year old self fighting with your older sister over the last cookie in the cookie jar.
Take a look at any pro rugby team, scratch beneath the surface, discard all the drills, cardio work and training on the field, and you’ll see they all share the same basic foundations to their strength training and it’s surprisingly simple. It’s not uncommon for most rugby pros to have at least 3-4 sessions in the gym to compliment the other training they’re doing.
Big compound exercises that recruit lots of large muscles help you to maximise your strength gains, end of. So what are big compound exercises? Exercises tend to be classified either as compound, which are those that involve more than one muscle group, or isolation exercises. What are the benefits of using compound or multi-joint lifts? There exert a systemic, body wide stress via the target muscle and adjacent muscles producing a whole body effect. When systemic stress is high, this stimulates what is termed a ‘hormonal cascade’ promoting the production of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone. This encourages enhanced protein synthesis which equals faster recovery and stronger bigger muscles!
The weighted squat coined ‘the king of all exercise’, when done correctly, requires good mobility of the hips, knees and spine. Squats engage almost every muscle in the body, not just the quads, hamstrings, lower legs and back, putting the whole body in an anabolic (tissue building) environment making it the ideal exercise to help stimulate muscle growth everywhere. How does it do this? Complete body exercises stimulate the production of potent anabolic hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone, making it the perfect muscle building and fat loss exercise.
One of the most powerful exercises you can ever do to increase strength and muscle mass. No need for assistance with the deadlift, it’s just you and the weighted bar. Not for sissy’s, the dead lift is a tough exercise to recover from. Comparable to squats in terms of engaging all the major muscles of the body. Proper execution of the dead lift also gives you additional strength in the posterior chain, arguably the most important group of muscles if you need to be explosion on the pitch. The posterior chain refers essentially to muscle of the posterior, the glutes, lower back and hamstrings. Incorporating dead lifts into your regular training routine and not only will you have glutes to crack nuts; you’ll actually be able to see them as separate to back of your knees!!
Hands down, one of the most popular lifts performed by Rugby players and probably the first lift you performed when you first started using a gym. The bench press is one of the best exercises for building strength in the chest shoulders and arms. You will need a gym buddy to perform this exercise safely. Landing the bar on your chest will not improve your pitch fitness though it may land you a few weeks in recovery for broken ribs. Want to squeeze out that little more from your bench press, increase the time during the lowering phase. This will increase stress to working muscles and stimulate greater gains in strength and size.
After a weights session, it’s all about recovery. Science Fitness® GlycoSource® has been designed to actively encourage the synthesis of glycogen in both liver and muscle, an internal process that is vital to performance which encourages your body to spare its protein stores and protein from your diet to utilise in rebuilding damaged muscles. This is especially important to recovery after exhaustive exercise. A heavy gym session will leave you feeling physically and mentally exhausted, but if you want to train like a pro, play like a pro and recover like a pro, recovery is equally important as the time spent training. If you’re not ready for your next training session, you’re on the bench at the weekend.
This article was writen by Danielle Davies.