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A Detailed 30 Day Workout To Get You Fit For Rugby

A Detailed 30 Day Workout To Get You Fit For Rugby
By Mark Farrelly
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Iconic Health Clubs were announced this week as the official wellbeing partner of the Irish Rugby Union Players Association (IRUPA) and to celebrate the announcement they have kindly put together a 30 day rugby workout to get players everywhere into tip-top shape.

Hope you find this useful.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. You need to lift weights. Resistance training allows you to generate more force which in turn allows you to be more powerful.
  2. Train your legs. Your legs are one of the biggest muscle groups, when trained they burn huge amounts of calories and give you the power in the tackle.
  3. Jump to make you more explosive. Box jumps are a perfect exercise which allows you utilise your strength and speed and develop your explosiveness.
  4. Forget the laps do intermittent sprints. It’s important to have a base of aerobic fitness however rugby is all about short sprints. Your ability to recover quicker after short bursts is much more important for Rugby.

Resistance training is the key to your workout

Resistance training is one of the most important aspects to this training. If we examine the concept power it is merely force multiplied by speed. Strength training will increase the force you are able to generate. You might look at rugby players and think I only need to be big and strong to be a good rugby player! Although that might take you a long way, if you cannot generate that strength quickly. You will left behind on the pitch!

Olympic lifting is a great example of where you can increase your power. However this is quite technical. A substitute for this while you’re starting out is a box jump. The purpose of a box jump is to maximise your power on each jump. Focus on this while your preforming the exercise opposed to jumping up and down like a jumping jack!

When it comes to getting you stronger and fitter or even losing weight, always choose compound exercises such as a squat. As the squat for some people can be tricky to master straight away, a split squat is a very knee friendly alternative to get you going.
Chin ups are probably one of the best underperformed exercise in the gym. It is the opposite of the bench press and a great pulling exercise to improve your tackling ability on the pitch. If you struggle to perform this exercise try using a band to assist you or alternatively revert to the standard lat pull down. But ultimately if you cannot preform 10 strict chin ups, this should be your short term goal. Not only will you have better shoulder health but bigger biceps in the process!

Weight training programme – Done three days per week

A Box jump – 3 sets of 5 reps


B1 Dumbbell Split Squat – 3 sets of 12-15 reps

B2 Chin up – 3 sets of 12-15 reps


*Tip if you cannot perform the full repetitions use a band to assist you

C1 Prone leg curl – 3 sets of 10-12


C2 Semi Supinated dumbbell bench press – 3 sets of 10-12 reps


*Take at least 60 rest between exercises lifting between 60-85% of your 1RM.

Intermittent sprinting is the key to success in rugby

There is a lot of running involved in a rugby match some players even covering more than 10km per match. Intermittent sprinting will not only burn fat quicker but also allow you to outperform those that simply think that running alone is the key to fitness. In fact most rugby teams will play mini games of touch or tag rugby for their fitness training. Having said that if you don’t have a baseline of aerobic fitness you should consider improving that first before moving on to anaerobic efforts such as sprinting.

For some living in an urban setting that might not have access to a pitch to perform these sprints. It is very important not to do your sprinting on a hard surface. This is a contributing factors of why players suffer back pain when the hardness of the surface changes in their training. Therefore it is advised if you are playing rugby on a pitch that you do not do your sprint training on the road. One alternative might be using impact reducing treadmills or indoor cycling. The best indoor cycling bikes are those that record your power output such as the Kaiser Bikes. The programme below can be performed either outside on a pitch, on a treadmill, an indoor rower or on a bike using approximate heart rate (HR).


Intermittent Sprinting – Done twice per week

Before starting any of these programmes especially intermittent sprinting if you are quite-unfit, very overweight or have a history of heart disease it is probably not best to consider this training programme. It would be advised to get help from R.E.P.S accredited health professional that you can find at Iconhealthclub or consult with your local doctor.

You can find the Iconic Health Club near you in Dublin, along with One Escape and Dartry Health Club.

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