Saturday, 31 October 2015

Flexibility Training For Rugby - 3 Mobility Drills

Let's take a look at flexibility training for rugby.  I know this isn't the most exciting topic compared to building muscle mass or speed training, but it is a very useful component to staying injury free and increasing playing time.

The great thing about flexibility training for rugby, is that it doesn't have to take lots of time or extra effort.  I've found that it can easily be done as part of your warm up for team or individual training sessions.  Really, there is no excuse to do some form of flexibility training, as it takes so little effort.

I've listed some different options for you below.  Some take longer than others, so have a look through them and see what tickles your fancy.

Deep Body Weight Squat Hold

This is by far the quickest and simplest flexibility training available. Simply squat down and hold this position for 30 seconds, and that's it, you're done.  The photo below shows the position you should be in.

This simple exercise will help improve your hip and ankle mobility, which is essential for sports performance and everyday living.  I couldn't believe how many of my personal training clients couldn't do this exercise.  It highlights tight ankle and hips very openly.

Thoracic Bridge

The thoracic bridge is another simple flexibility exercise that only takes 30 seconds to do.  It improves back, hip and shoulder flexibility.  Basically, all the parts that need improving for rugby.  You can see a good instructional video for this below.

The Agile 8 Mobility Drill

The Agile 8 mobility drill is the longest of these three drills, but is worth the extra effort.  You can check out the video instruction below:

So there you have it - 3 simple mobility drills and flexibility training for rugby.  These can fit easily into your warm ups, with no extra effort or time, but will provide a huge benefit to your body.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Get Faster For Rugby With These 5 Methods

Today I am going to show you how to get faster for rugby.  Speed is one of the best weapons on the rugby pitch, no matter your position.  The days of big slow players are gone, so let's look at some drills to increase your speed for rugby.

Increase Strength & Power

Strength and power are one of the first abilities you must improve to increase speed.  People often assume that sprint training and drills are the best way to increase speed, but strength training should be used as well.  Think of strength training as the foundation of your speed work.  Look at the size of 100 metre sprinters these days.  They perform lots of strength trainer for speed and so should you.

The best rugby exercises for strength and speed training include the deadliftbulgarian split squat, thrusters, and more found here.

These exercises should form part of a larger workout and program.  You can see a good rugby workout here.

Hill Sprints

I've included hill sprints high up the list, as the only equipment you need is a hill and a good set of lungs.  Hill sprints have the added benefit of adding more resistance to traditional flat sprints, in the form of gravity.

8-10 sprints up a hill are plenty for this type of training.  Simply warm up with a 5-10 min jog, then sprint up a hill, walk slowly down, before sprinting back up again.

Please note, hill sprints are for speed and not conditioning, so take around 30-60 seconds between sprints.

Sled Training - Get Faster For Rugby

Resistance Sprints

Resistance running is where you add resistance to your sprints.  Common methods of this is a sled, prowler or parachute.  Adding resistance to your sprints helps increase power, strength and speed.

Click here to see Sleds & Prowlers on Amazon
Click here to see parachutes on Amazon

If you prefer, you can make a homemade sled with an old car tyre and a piece of rope.  Go to a garage or dump and you can pick up an old tyre for free.  Tie a piece or rope around the tyre and viola, you have a sled.

Follow the same format as the hill sprints for the workout with 8-10 sprints.  You have the added benefit here to increase or decrease the sprinting distance.

Jumping and Plyometric Training

Plyometric (jump) training has been a bit of a buzz word these days in the strength and conditioning world.  While it has its benefits, it can be dangerous and misused.  The reason being that some workouts prescribe too many reps on these, such as 'as many jumps in 2 minutes' or whatever.  Bear in mind that plyometric training "should" be used to develop power, which is usually done for fairly few reps.

Plyometric (jump) training can be included in your workouts, rather than dedicating a whole workout to them.  You can see a rugby workout with them included here (in the form of squat jumps).

Alternatively, you could add them to your sprint training.  Simply perform 5-8 squat jumps before you do a sprint.  For example, do 5-8 squat jumps, sprint up a hill, rest and repeat.

Regular Sprint Training

Let's not forget about regular old sprint training for rugby speed.  I'll not rehash old information here, as you have probably done lots of speed drills in your team training.  What I will show you is how you can personally use this type of training on your own.

I used to perform 8-10 sprints after my team workouts when I was trying to increase my speed (I was never the fastest person).  This only took about 5-10 minutes, is easy to stick to, as your are already warmed up and training.  The important thing was to get it done.  And it definitely helps you get faster for rugby.  Sometimes the simple things work best (actually most of the time, simply works best).

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Rugby Workout For Props

Rugby Workout For Props

Today I have a rugby workout for props to increase strength, power and speed.  A good prop workout should include rugby exercises to increase pure strength, and some that are specific to your position.  This doesn't mean getting carried away with lots of weird and wonderful exercises that mimic scrums, lineouts, rucking etc.  The basics should form the bulk of your workout.

Rugby workouts are generally suited best to full body workouts, as they fit in better with other team training sessions.  Therefore, this workout will be full body, which you can check out below.  Make sure you read the explanation after the workout.

Props Rugby Workout

A1. Deadlift: 5 sets of 4-6 reps
A2. Dumbbell shoulder press: 5 sets of 8-12 reps

B1. Bulgarian split squat: 4 sets of 10-15 reps
B2. Bent-over row: 4 sets of 10-15 reps

C1. Goblet squats: 3 set of 15-20 reps
C2. Dumbbell bench press: 3 sets of 6-8 reps

D1. Reverse lunges: 2 sets of 30 second rounds (as many reps as possible in 30 secs)
D2. Dumbbell thruster: 3 sets of 30 second rounds (as above)

(I linked some of the lesser-known exercise video explanations above, but you can see the rest of the rugby exercise video explanations on this post - click here)


All the exercises in the rugby workout are to be done in pairs.  Do one set of an exercises then move onto the next for one set, before going back to the beginning exercise.  

Rest as much as needed but don't sit with your phone catching up on Facebook.  The exercises are done in pairs to give more rest between each individual exercises.

Thank You Paul O'Connell For The Memories

Such a sad way to finish, but thank you to Paul O'Connel for the memrories.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Rugby Exercises - Dumbbell Thruster

Rugby Exercises - Dumbbell Thruster

The dumbbell thruster is a fantastic exercise for rugby players.  It will develop strength, power, speed and conditioning.  The movement relates to lifting in the lineout but is great for other positions as well.  It helps produce whole body power for tackling, running and rucking.  If done for high reps it can also improve conditioning.  Try doing 20 reps with a decent weight and see how hard you are blowing after.  Check out the video below for an explanation.

The dumbbell thruster is general best done for high reps.  If you want to go heavier you are best using a barbell and looking at the push press exercise instead.

A good guideline is doing 2-3 sets of 12-20 reps.  Or trying doing reps for time - say as many reps as possible in 30 seconds.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Stuart Lancaster To Go Or England Just Not Good Enough?

Over the past week there has been a lot of debate as to whether Stuart Lancaster should go or not.  Some people are calling for his head, while others think he isn't the problem and people higher up the RFU are to blame.

One question I would ask before any rash decisions are made, is who would be the next England coach if Stuart Lancaster is sacked?

The reason I ask this is quite simple, England rugby obviously want a good manager at the helm.  Therefore, they need to improve on Lancaster.  Simply sacking him on the back of a bad Rugby World Cup campaign is very short sighted.

Another important question I used in the headline for this post is - Are England just not good enough?

Now, before you call me out as some England hating keyboard warrior, I will say that I like the England rugby team and want them to do well.  I support all the home nations (unless they are playing against Ireland).

I think the whole World Cup fiasco simply came down to England not being good enough.  They were in the toughest group in the competition.  One thing I would like to say is that England shouldn't be embarrassed or ashamed of their result. Disappointed, yes, but to lose against Australia and Wales doesn't make you a bad team.  At the elite level of competition, games are won and lost on split second decisions, minor mistakes and skill.

Jonny Wilkinson made some very interesting comments to say that England should use this experience to improve and develop as a team.  Sacking Stuart Lancaster and making scapegoats of individuals (Sam Burgess or Chris Robshaw anyone?) isn't productive.

Final Word

Personally, I think that Stuart Lancaster et all should be given another chance.  Why waste the experience gained and throw it away?

At the very least, wait until the Six Nations come around next year, which isn't that far away.  See how the management and players come back from this low spell.  There is still plenty of time to build for the next World Cup if next year doesn't go well.

A photo posted by Liam Stacey (@liam.stacey) on

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Rugby Exercises - Bulgarian Split Squat

The bulgarian split squat is a fantastic exercise for rugby players in every position.  They will increase your strength power and speed.  As they are done one leg at a time, they have huge carryover onto the rugby pitch for sprinting, rucking, tackling and exploding through tackles.  I am not saying they should replace traditional squats and deadlifts, but make for an excellent addition to your routine.  Check out the how-to video below.

When doing these you can use a wide variety of rep ranges and weight.  Although, they can be hard to go real heavy due to your balance.  A good rule of thumb is to perform heavy squats or deadlifts, then move on these split squats for around 3-4 sets of 8-20 reps.  Start of with bodyweight only, then add weight once you can do 20 reps.