T Nation

Rugby Virgin


So, Rugby freaks, I decided I wanted to learn how to play, because rugby seems like an awesome game. Our club let's pretty much anybody show up and practice so I correctly figured it would be a lowish pressure environment in which to learn the game.

After going to two practices I have a turf burn that oozes blood and shit that looks like puss and my ankles, hips back and neck make me feel like I got hit by a truck. Thankfully, practicing with the forwards I haven't been ran to death.

My strength in the gym is way down, as I feel pretty shitty all the time.

My questions are:

When will this vaginitis clear up and allow me to workout and move normally?

and two:

Should I just expect rugby's gonna hurt my weight room performance? Not (just) asking as a pussy, asking as a guy that's never played a contact sport before. I like it so far, I just also like being able to pull twice my bodyweight, as opposed to the 1.5 I barely got off the floor today.

All constructive or entertaining commentary is appreciated..



yes. stop being a ghurly boy.

Maybe look at it differently, rather than looking at losing strength, gaining cardio. A change in training focus can be a good thing now and then.

Will also give you a chance to maybe encorperate some DE work - cleans and the like so a new pr could be found here.
Just remember no amount of strength can make up for poor technique and a lack of CV work.


During the playing session your lifts will naturally be down a little!

A contact sport makes intense training in the gym very difficult! You may even have to change your training around and just try to maintain the strength in the gym that you have!

You may want to drop doing Isolation moevments for individual body parts and just stick to 1 or 2 days a week doing whole body movements like power cleans or basic compound exercises like squats and deadlifts. As I assume you would be training at least twice a week for rugby plus game day!


how much cardio have been doing? Odds are your body is just not used to those energy sapping training sessions. Sleep a bit more, take it easier in the weight room for the 1st few weeks while you ease into it. You'll be fine, going through the same motions everyone that isn't in top shape goes through when the season comes round.


The ruggers that I knew used to lift off season, then almost maintain during season. You'll lose some strength. ME is a great idea! I always sported my grassburns. Badges of manliness. I didn't even lift when playing. Just the regular pushups, situps... wish I knew what I do now 15 years ago...


Playing rugby is one of the best things that you can do IMO. You are going to find that for the first couple of months you are just going to have to suck it up and get out there and play, and get into the gym and lift.

Your body is going to struggle to adjust to such a different type of work row for a while, but once you have a few more training sessions under your belt you should start to feel your body returning to the level of conditioning you felt before, and will probably see improvement in many areas of your body. Particularly legs if you are in the scrums.

Just think how much your body would be knocked around if someone through a 260lb barbell at you, this is no different to a big hit from a front rower.


Yeah, I think you just need to accept some strength loss/muscle and join soreness in season, I sprained my shoulder at the bottom of a ruck a couple of weeks ago, and have just had to adjust my workouts and raise reps/lower weight. Just the price you pay. Will make your lifting in the offseason even more fun though, as strength gains come rapidly and there's no pre-existing soreness. Look at it that way.


Awesome sport. Don't worry about numbers in a weight room. (Unless you are a PL)



You may be running less in practice with the forwards, but you will find that the forwards run alot more than the backs come game time (maybe not as fast, but forwards are always running to the ball to join the rucks and mauls).

In fact, you will find that forwards are better, smarter, stronger, better looking, and just all around better people than the backs. The backs just want to look pretty, and pretend that they have a the right to drink beer with the forwards.

You cannot maintain maximal strength during the season, and should not even try to do so. That is a preseason training objective. During the season, concentrate on power movements, particularly cleans, snatches, moderate weight squats, jerks, etc.


yeah and dont run straight into a samoan. Thats good advice.


reminds me of my days at secondry school, a typical english boys school where you played rugby and football was outlawed. being of a small build i never got on to well with the nocks, i'll always remember what the rugby coach once said though.

"football is a game for gentlemen played by thugs, rugby is a game for thugs played by gentlemen"

by football it means reall football (round ball) not the american one with the girly pads :slightly_smiling:


Ren has it right- once your cardio comes up, you'll feel better and the strength will return. But get as much sleep as possible for a while to help recovery. Anyone who tells you that your strength will absolutely stay down through the season is just plain wrong- I played at a relatively high level for years, and every season my strength dropped for a few weeks until I was acclimatized- about three to five weeks.

I regularly squatted and deadlifted in the low 500's throughout the season after I got into game shape. Liken it to Westside's GPP- it is a struggle to get it up to par, but once you are there your strength should not be compromised. This is a real case of "that which does not kill us makes us stronger".


Oh, and I forgot to mention- Scottyz had it right in the comparison between forwards and backs. I played #8 most of the time, wing forward (flanker) the rest of the time. Ran my ass off! But we were by far the better looking and more manly of the two groups.


Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen. Soccer is a gentleman's game played by beasts. Football is a beastly game played by beasts. "

so not meant to start that discussion though :wink:


Couldn't have been said better, as a lock I run more distance and am involved in more contact in one game than most of our backs are the entire season.

As far as the gym now that the season has started I am off weights for the most part. 3x a week I am doing pullups, dips, chins and plyo push-ups. I'm also doing single leg BW squats. Maybe once every 2 weks I do a day of cleans but that is all. A few years ago I tried to keep lifting heavy through the season and my knees and shoulder felt as if they would fall off.


Just suck it up and bust your ass at practice and your numbers in the gym won't matter, what matters is the intensity. And just listen to your body-if you're losing energy during the day, go to bed earlier, etc. Also, do not neglect your diet!! Think about the huge amount of energy it takes your body to recover from those horrible horrible grassburns and all of your workouts. Can't run a car without gas, so make sure you are fueling your body properly. Good luck and the fact that you are even on the pitch trying rugby makes you more of a man than most. Cheers


so very very true


All this talk about losing strength during the season is bull. It has never happened to me. You just have to train smart, and eat more. You may lose something at first, because you are not accustomed to the training and games. But once you adapt, you will at least maintain, if you are smart. Thinking you will lose strength in-season is mentally defeating yourself before you start. Virtually all the boys I am coaching now are actually gaining strength in-season.

One thing I think is worth mentioning is to train your legs the day after playing. You will be a little sore, but you will have fresh legs for trainings and your next game, which is more important.

I love strength training both as a means to improve my rugby and that of my players, and as a thing in itself. But don't get obsessed with it directly co-relating to rugby performance, because it is only one of many factors which influence how well you play. Aerobic and anaerobic fitness are obvious, but really, skill and rugby knowledge are paramount. Especially, players in North America start the game later in life, and usually have good physical attributes, but are rubbish at basics like tackling properly, rucking, passing, kicking, etc. They don't know the rules well enough and don't run good lines or anticipate, read defences, etc.

Get yourself some videos and books, and learn, because no doubt you are big and strong, going by pics I have seen of you, you will do okay physically. Slightly cut back your lifting volume but not your poundages, and get fit. You will then be on your way to be a good player.


I used to do this as well, after a couple weeks my numbers in the gym would come back up, but you will likely have to reduce the volume.

And yes, as a forward you will run more, but usually not sprints. As far as the other comments about being smarter and better looking, it's tough for me to say since I split my time between hooker and centre (so I half agree).


Yeah ur poundages will start to go up, I'm presently playing university rugby at Bristol Uni in england, the BUSA is a pretty tough competition.

As a hooker i have to agree that forwards are more manly and better looking