T Nation

Training During Rugby Season

To all rubgy playing T-men/women,

I’m trying to work out a good strength training program for my brother who is in pre-season for rugby at the moment. He has just come back from a 5 month trip overseas so our primary focus over the next month or so is to get his strength and size back to where he used to be. I’ll probably start him off with “The Waterbury Method” for this. What I am not sure about is what type of training he should be doing when the season starts. Obviously he would not be able to do a high intensity program due to the nature of rugby and the recovery period required, not to mention having to train during the week.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Ben

I don’t really train any differently in season, I just continue periodizing lifting parameters ( volume, strength qualities trained, etc.) Over here in the states, rugby isn’t as serious though and we only have team training twice a week with games on saturdays.
I would probably just stick with trying to maintain strength in the weight room. In-season is probably not a good time to go for hypertrophy for various recovery, potential poor coordination issues. I’m sure there will be plenty of ballistic movements in training.
The Waterbury method approach of 10x3 is a good idea, maybe tone down the volume in the 4x6 sets.(in season, not pre) I’m torn about whether to do whole body training or body part splits. I like whole body, but it might be too much if you think about the whole body workouts from training as part of the equation.
Anyways, hope he does well. My first training session is on Tues. and I am horribly out of shape as far as my wind is concerned. PUKE!

I play tier One rugby in Canada… I have a number of off season, during season and alternative workout plans and such… let me know via pm your email address and I’ll send them to you. Very much geared to increase in agility, power and stamina.

In season, I usually do less leg work, as I don’t like playing games with legs that feel fatigued and heavy, but apart from that, my training doesn’t change much, although I might drop down to 2 weight sessions a week, depending on how hard my team is practising.

[quote]apayne wrote:
I don’t really train any differently in season, I just continue periodizing lifting parameters ( volume, strength qualities trained, etc.) Over here in the states, rugby isn’t as serious though and we only have team training twice a week with games on saturdays.
I would probably just stick with trying to maintain strength in the weight room. In-season is probably not a good time to go for hypertrophy for various recovery, potential poor coordination issues. I’m sure there will be plenty of ballistic movements in training.
The Waterbury method approach of 10x3 is a good idea, maybe tone down the volume in the 4x6 sets.(in season, not pre) I’m torn about whether to do whole body training or body part splits. I like whole body, but it might be too much if you think about the whole body workouts from training as part of the equation.
Anyways, hope he does well. My first training session is on Tues. and I am horribly out of shape as far as my wind is concerned. PUKE![/quote]

This is sort of what I was thinking, it is better to maintain strength and power rather than trying to bulk. The aerobic training and the games would negate any bulking attempts anyway. My brother is not going to be playing in a high level competition this year (for the last few years he was playing 2nd/3rd grade for one of the top level Sydney teams, which is the level below Super 12 provincial rugby, if you know what that is), he is just playing suburban rugby and they only train once per week. So overtraining is probably not too much of a risk.

I think I will introduce him to things like power cleans and other ballistic lifts. I am thinking a 2x/week program. The first day would be strength eg 5x5 for big compound exercises, and anything like squats would be done on this day to allow sufficient recovery by game day. On the second day I will get him to do olympic/ballistic lifts and probably a few injury prevention exercises such as rotator cuffs.

What do you guys think, any other ideas?

How often are the on-field training sessions? At Uni. we trained 4x a week, with a game on Sat. Playing club rugby the training was only 2x a week with the Sat. game. Given the lighter volume of on-field sessions I found 2-3 sessions in the gym didn’t hinder my game performance. I did find that a Sunday session in the gym was helpful for recovery from a Saturday game, which left monday free for recovery before the Tues. on field training.

BG,
With only one team training/week I think that he could definitely have weight train 3x/week. The Sunday session that winger mentioned is definitely a good idea, although I am usually a little hungover from the social and it is tough to motivate;). 5x5 is definitely a good idea. I would do that beginning of week, a 4x6,3x8or other hypertrophy oriented approach in the middle and a light volume day with emphasis on speed strength towards the end of the week. Not sure if the speed strength day would affect the CNS too much to be recovered for game day. Definitely a good idea to include some rotator cuff, pre-habilitave type exercises. Maybe the day after the game? Might be better to let the body heal as much as possible though before any specific training.
On a side note, I had a scrimmage Sat. that went pretty well, but the best part was the social. When we ran out of beer at the social, I invited the ladies and some of my buddies from the college team (they had a scrimmage too) over to my house for an after-party. Well we got some booze into the girls, and before long they were naked in the hot tub with me and a couple other guys. Can you say orgy! Awesome!