Off-Season Rugby Training Program
Now that the rugby season has officially ended, except for 7's which I will not play, I need to structure a workout plan for the coming season and could use some help.
I am 35 now, 6'2 & 245, my strength needs to improve across the board, and since I cannot move like I once could my projected position would be Tighthead prop. I would like to have my playing weight between 235 and 240. I have been working on a program that James Evans helped design for me that helped me through the season. It follows:
Mon - strength
tue - short intervals - practice
wed - speed lifts
thu - long interval - practice
sat - game day
sun recovery - swim or bike
There is about 16 weeks until the start of fall season. I am intrigued by some of the single leg stuff proposed by Michael Boley, but have never tried any of it.
Again, any help would be appreciated.
You've got plenty of time to play with. Have you just finished the season? I want to know how tired/beat up you are?
I think Shaf might be more suited to take the lead on this as you looking at prop as your position.
So you need to focus on strength, short distance speed (10 metre sprints) and some conditioning for general scrummaging/mauling. At 6'2" you could possibly jump at the lineout I guess or are you up against really tall guys a lot?
Hey James, thanks for responding.
When we lift we either lift a light flanker or one of our tall 2nd rows, This past year we had a couple of guys who were both at least 4 inches taller than me.
I am not too beat up, my calf muscle tear caused a real strain though. I started favoring my right leg more and that cause both my ankles and knees to start hurting. Before that I was moving around quite well. I haven't done any work for 7 days now and feel pretty healthy except for a little ankle tenderness.
The upper body stuff I was doing served me well, the push presses and half cleans along with the Crossfit warmups which I added push-ups to made my lifting and scrummaging much better than I was used to. I ended up playing tighthead becasue of my left calf, I could push in from the right side with no problem.
Over in the UK the top level back row forwards are all mostly 6' + and the locks will be 6' 4" minimum. There are of course one or two centres and wings out there who are 6'4"/6'5".
But at the more grassroots level you're getting guys who are less into the realms of giantdom and that's why I was wondering how you fared height wise although to be honest I did expect you to be lifting rather than jumping.
I think we are looking at something like this (but this off the top of my head so like Pierre's opinions, subject to change):
Month 1 - GPP
Month 2 - Hypertrophy
Month 3 - Strength
Month 4 - Power
Maybe take another week off and then get back into the groove with some CrossFit style stuff for a couple of weeks and then onto Month 2 - big compound exercises in the 8-10 rep range, squats, push presses, bench, rows, dls etc.
Month 3 up the weight, drop the reps.
Month 4 we're upping the speed.
This is simplistic but I think you'll get the gist.
I have to check something at home but we will also schedule in running/conditioning work alongside. For a prop Litvi sprints and sled drags would be good. Hope you like burpees...
We need to address your calf too but I really need to give way to someone more knowledgeable on rehab issues.
That is good stuff, although I do not like burpees and am not sure what a Litvi sprint is. This past year I started exercising with my girls and when it was my turn I would do some short sprints I had one where I would sprint, pick them up and carry them back to the starting line, etc... , they loved it. That kind of stuff, like pushing a sled, has always tested my conditioning more than anything else.
I think my calf is almost 100% now, it has been almost 5 weeks and I dont even think about it at all.
So what I should do is ride a bike or swim and hit crossfit 2-3 times a week. Then move back into the lifting regimen, that sounds like a great idea.
I got the Litvi thing from Dan John. You might have heard of him, flies around Utah in a flying saucer.
Basic premise is you perform a lifting movement, say a kettlebell swing or a power clean with a sandbag, bang out a couple of reps and then dump and immediately sprint a given distance. It's complex training really. Keep the distance short.
A tool called a Powerbag has become very popular in rugby circles (where it was developed) and is ideal for this kind of thing:
but it is essentially a sandbag so you can easily improvise.
One of the main draws of stuff like this? It's fun. Just like playing with your kids.
As another rugby player i'm always very interested to hear what you have to say regarding sports specific training. Out of interest what is your experience, was it player then trainer?
Anyway the question i was going to ask was if you could expand on your recommendations for a month of GPP, i really need to haul myself into shape and if i could keep my training specific it would be a bonus.
I think for a month of GPP then CrossFit comes into it's element. I was always a fan of Michael Rutherford's format of Monday/Wednesday/Friday on his blog:
but he has recently changed the format slightly. Have a look at the archives though.
The 3 on, 1 off format of CrossFit HQ is a little less easy to work around I feel but that website is an amazing resource for taxing workouts. Even the ones that look kind of ok on paper take a little bit of you away with them.
Anyway, I would schedule 3 (maybe 4 if you're feeling good) such sessions a week and add in maybe a swim, a bike ride, a session on a Concept 2. Because athletes like rugby players tend to be big guys (obviously the forwards in particular) these take some weight off your joints.
The reason I favour Rutherford's stuff is because it contains less of the gymnastic movements of CrossFit HQ. I totally accept the rationale behind training gymnastic movements for general fitness but for a rugby player you should be working on your skills like passing, kicking, tackling not your planche.
Here's a good session off the CrossFit messageboards from ages ago:
12 Sumo Deadlift High Pull
5 rounds for time. Use a 30kg bar. That comes up on you pretty quick. Can't remember off hand who came up with that.
Have a play around and have some fun.
my season is over first weekend in june. I want to spend the next few months working on two things: speed and endurance. i found it tough to keep pace this spring. and 80 minutes has never seemed longer.
on a horrible note, I was asked if I wanted to prop.
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