Rugby players are some of the toughest athletes in the world. The things that they go through for their sport is unlike many others and is quite admirable to those looking in from the outside. They need to stay in peak physical condition in order to push their bodies to the limit in every match. This requires keeping up with weight training, a proper diet, along with the kind of mental toughness and endurance that is critical to their success. There’s a lot you can learn from rugby players as it pertains to your own personal training. Here are four lessons to keep in mind that can take your fitness to the next level.
Never Forget Your Cardio
A common mistake made by most people is making the time to lift weights, but skipping out on cardio workouts. Due to the fact that they run almost as much as soccer while being much bigger and stronger, cannot afford to do this. Jason Suhy describes some of the cardio workouts he does with the Ohio State Rugby Team, “distance runs, 1,000 meter shuttles, partner runs, sprints. We do that Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, then we’ll do a conditioning session only on Friday’s.” Applying these different variations keeps the body guessing allowing you to burn fat without sacrificing any muscle.
Find Ways To Push Yourself
One of the most brutal and challenging workout a rugby player will face is the beat test. This mark of endurance requires you to complete 20-yard sprints to the beat of a metronome. The tempo begins at a slow pace, but then gradually increases until you are moving at sprint speed ensuring that each rep will be tougher than the last. This is to remind you that it is important to push yourself in the gym. One great tip you can implement is to crank out a few sprints at the end of each of your lifts and every time try to do more. You can even set up your progression to test your maxes every couple months. By giving yourself a goal to beat, you will be more motivated to keep going.
You Must Lift Heavy
Just like any major athlete, rugby players lift heavy and often. According to Suhy, “we do rugby lifts Mondays and Wednesdays. But every single guy on this team, because we want to make it, lifts pretty much every day.” By lifting, they are not just referring to bicep curls or leg extensions. Rugby players focus on big, compound movements that utilize a lot of different muscle groups and stabilizers to help maximize their strength gains. For example, they will do pyramids for big exercises where they do a set of six reps, rest, then do a set of five, rest, and continue this process until they get down to a single rep set. Then, they will work their way back up. Through this process, they are adding weights to the lower rep sets, so that once they hit their final rep, it is somewhat close to their 1RM (1 Rep Max).
Focus on Nutrition
Many people try to bulk up by eating pounds of pasta and rice, but that only leaves them looking anything but athletic. However, Jason Suhy looks to gain weight by eating whole foods like fruits as they contain carbs that come from natural sugars. Even a few bananas are a better way to pack on some pounds than overstuffing with bread.