It’s sometimes difficult to look beyond the rugby changing room for tips on how you should be maintaining your fitness plan. However, there is much to be learnt from other activities – crossfit, kickboxing and pilates can all educate the competitive rugby player about how to keep the body lean, mean and serene.

Witness the fitness

Crossfit is defined as “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains”. Put simply, the variety of movements, the different types of energy and strength needed, and the sheer intensity make crossfit an ideal match for the rugby-conditioning regime, if performed correctly. In your crossfit session, you should start with a movement warm-up such as five sets of 10m high-kneed run, before trying a core lift – perhaps six sets of six dead-lifts at 75% of your 1RM with 2 minutes rest between sets. Before the WOD (workout of the day). There are hundreds of WOD’s available to try, however we have picked out a few for you to have a go at.

WOD1: Paul Pena

7 rounds – each for time of – Try and be consistent

100-meter sprint
19 kettlebell swings – 32kgs
10 burpee box jumps, 24-inch
Rest 3 minutes

WOD 2: Keep it Simple

As many Reps as Possible in 20 Minutes:

10 pull-ups
15 push-ups
20 squats

WOD 3: Run, Pull, Squat, Pull, Repeat

3 rounds for time of:

Run 400 meters
15 pull-ups
50 squats
15 pull-ups

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Kick on with training

Kickboxing represents a total-body workout for any competitive rugby player – the huge cardiovascular exertion is simply brilliant for maintaining your rugby stamina (it is, after all, a mix of martial arts and aerobics). Working the pads and the bags conditions your back and shoulder muscles through the punches and blocks, as well as your lower body through the kicks and jumping.

Your core muscles (the abs mainly) will benefit from the rotating and bending you do to support all the sequences you perform. You’ll notice increased flexibility after a few kickboxing sessions because it teaches you to choreograph your movement. It teaches you to warm up correctly, too, as it is vital in kickboxing that you spend 15 minutes limbering up. You should expect to burn off at least 270 calories for every half-hour of kickboxing session.

Pile on the pilates

number of top rugby professionals (eg the London Irish squad) swear by pilates to work on strengthening specific muscles in order to avoid injury on the playing field. You’ll learn to take the strain off your global muscles such as the quadriceps. The discipline also works wonders on your core-balance muscles, so it should form part of your external rugby training regime – when weaving through a sea of opposition forwards, pilates could prove invaluable.

The back row and half-backs can check out the oblique plank, which meets their rotation requirements when they offload the ball – make sure you keep your hips up. This helps the back five by boosting their sprint speed and power.

The key is looking beyond your rugby gym work to improve your all-round performance, while retaining the conditioning discipline your training regime affords you.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 23: Sam Burgess takes part in a yoga session during a South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL recovery session at Clovelly Beach on September 23, 2013 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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