Spin workouts remain a great way for the competitive player to maintain and increase their rugby fitness. It’s not all about hitting the weights for a few hours – you will also need rugby cardio if you are to maintain your best play for 80 minutes. Here are some tips to get the most out of spinning.
Stay until closing time
As well as arriving early to set up your bike for maximum effect and to avoid injury, you will need to be there as the instructor leads the class through the cool-down. It’s a good idea to stand tall in the seat with your feet hip-width apart, says Dr Yoav Surprun, a McKenzie physical therapist at Sobe Spine in Miami Beach, Florida.
Continue to push your belly button forward to create as large a hollow as possible in the small of your back. Hold this tilt for 2 – 3 seconds, then relax; repeat for 15-20 times. This will aid your recovery.
A perfect set-up for perfect rugby cardio
The key thing is to be properly aligned. Make sure there is no excess pressure on your wrists and your legs are extended (a bend of 25- 35 degrees) so you your knees aren’t taking the brunt of it. You’ll be able to avoid injury and maximise your rugby fitness if you minimise the pressure on your wrists, knees and back. Try not to round your back and shoulders – and wear padded shorts and appropriate footwear.
Don’t race your neighbour and cheat yourself
Your rugby cardio will allow you to be competitive on the field; you don’t need to pretend you’re wearing the Tour de France yellow jersey! This is about your fitness, so go at your own pace. Also don’t pretend to add resistance, as this could damage your joints and put you out of game day.
Likewise, you want to remember this is part of your rugby cardio, so don’t think resistance will bulk up your thighs; save that for the weights room. You should put enough resistance to completely fatigue your legs in around half-a-dozen revolutions. Use your RPM to control your workout – it should not go above 120, with 60-80 RPM for climbs and 90-110 RPM for seated or standing runs.
Power to your glutes
You want to maximise the workload of your glutes and hips. Take the strain off your quads by pressing through with flat feet – don’t point your toes! You should also avoid standing and leaning forward as this puts undue pressure on your knees, rather than empowering your hips.
Don’t hold an uncomfortable position through your entire spin workout as this will damage your knee joints and reduce the effectiveness of your rugby cardio session.
Remember to enjoy the sweat
It’s not only about toning your legs and your glutes – you’ll also have a huge release of endorphins as you will burn up to 600 calories in an hour-long spin workout. Spin classes will often switch between fierce bursts of activity and cool-off periods. It’s a prime example of HIIT (high-intensity interval training), which will raise your rugby cardio fitness, burning the maximum calories in the shortest amount of time.
At the end of your spin workout, you’ll get that “runner’s high” without damaging your knee joints if you take these spinning tips onboard. Remember to drink plenty of water as you’ll sweat buckets and you must rehydrate immediately afterwards.