Over Christmas, a lot of players find it can be particularly difficult to find the time to get to the gym. With this in mind, we have compiled four workouts that you should aim to complete over the festive period in order to keep your body rugby-ready.
These four programmes include two high-intensity weight training sessions to increase your anaerobic capacity whilst also helping to burn fat and build muscle. There is also a power and a strength-weight session that are designed to ensure you maintain your strength and power levels over the Christmas period.
Interval Weight Training: Session 1
This session should be performed at a very high intensity. Once warmed up, you should be working at maximum effort on each of the exercises. If possible you should try to make sure that all the exercise stations are set up so that you are able to move between exercises easily in your rest time. Try to keep count (or have someone to keep count for you) so you can keep a record of how many reps you were able to do. This will give you a target to hit for the next time you complete the session.
Interval Weight Training: Session 2
This high-intensity session should be completed in the same fashion as the first. The main difference is that this session includes the use of some dumbbells. The important thing to do is to not go too heavy with the weight. You want to make sure that you are able to lift the weight for the full minute to ensure you perform as many reps as possible. Note here that it is better to go for a lighter weight than go for one too heavy and only end up working for half of the session!
Strength Weight Training: Session 3
This session is to help you build your strength. The exercises should not be performed at 100 miles per hour, and you should have suitable rest times between the sets. This workout will take quite a lot longer than the previous two intense interval weight sessions. It is important here to make sure that you always have a spotter when you are doing free weights, even if it is just someone else in the gym who is able to help you. This ensures that you know someone will be able to help you with the weight, which allows you to lift as heavy as possible while remaining safe.
Power Training: Session 4
This power session is all about moving the heavy weights in a fast and controlled way to improve your explosiveness. The combination of strength and speed is essential in rugby and will help to make sure that you are able to break through tackles and are able to put in dominant tackles on the opposition.
Although it is hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym and complete these sessions, it is 100% worth doing! Trust me, you will be glad you did when you turn up to the first training session of the New Year. Try your best to squeeze in a few of these sessions otherwise, you will feel absolutely terrible before, during and after the first training session!
About the author
Ruairidh is an amateur rugby player from Scotland. He has played at a regional and international level and currently plays in the Scottish BT Premiership. He successfully balanced studying his degree, with playing in the U20 Six Nations and U20 World Cup. During this time he had a number of highly qualified strength and conditioning coaches and nutritionists, who imparted their knowledge on him. He is, therefore, able to pass on the theory, as well as the practicalities, of what is required to balance a professional approach to training with a full-time job/busy day to day life.