Rugby is very intense and requires rigorous strength training. There is a strong culture of strength and conditioning in the rugby community especially after the turn of professionalism in 1995 where there were many advances in the field. However, like most other things, there are common misconceptions regarding strength training for rugby. Let’s take a look at some of these misconceptions about rugby strength training.
Focusing Too Much On Hypertrophy
When it comes to rugby, size can have an impact and rugby players do seek to get bigger. The bigger the player, the more momentum they can generate when going into contact. However, this does not mean you should focus solely on lifting like a bodybuilder because it will cause you to become too muscle-bound, slowing you down and making you prone to injury. Rapidly putting on muscle can only have negative effects on their game. Instead, you should also include strength in your routine along with incorporating quality nutrition. Doing so will help you become more powerful, fitter, and injury resistant.
Focusing Too Much on Strength
As with hypertrophy, strength should not be the only thing you focus on improving. In fact, research has shown that even the elite players have similar strength to sub-elite players. What set them apart was their higher power levels. Now, strength training will help increase your power to a certain degree, however, once you reach that level, you will need to improve other areas such as speed, explosiveness, and power. Remember that you are a rugby player and not a powerlifter, so when you are on the field, your power and speed are integral to your success. So, a proper strength and conditioning will incorporate all the physical qualities needed for peak performance.
Not Using Plyometrics
Plyometrics is one of the most effective training tools that a coach has at their disposal, however, many avoid them to prevent injury. This is particular with rugby as the players are so big. Plyometrics are great for increasing speed and power, but they are also known to improve your fitness and prevent injuries. To do these exercises while avoiding injuries, you should start with basic drills and progress slowly.
Not Using Eccentrics & Isometrics
Eccentric exercises occur when your muscle applies force as it lengthens. Isometrics are when your muscles are applying force in a static position. These are both important for the change of direction speed and control especially when it comes to injury prevention. Eccentrics can cause soreness, so many coaches avoid using them. However, by performing them on a regular basis, you can minimize that soreness.