Rugby is a game that is made up of intermittent periods of work alternating with periods of rest. The work is made up of sprinting, running, jogging, walking and due to the contact and combative nature of the game demands strength and power.
The work periods are usually of high intensity varying in duration from under 5secs to over 3 minutes. Rest periods vary from 10secs up to 2 minutes. This type of activity demands high levels of anaerobic and aerobic fitness.
How does it help you?
- learn why low-impact cardio matters
- get rowing technique advice
- understand cross-training principles
There are very few training activities than can produce a high intensity upper body workout, involve the strongest muscles in the body, the legs, and raise the heart rate to cause almost immediate fatigue. These are the requirements and demands of a rugby player. Rugby players spend almost all their training time on their feet, performing technical drills, interval running or sprint training. Getting off your feet because rowing is the best cardio training for rugby players.
Over time this repetitive, impact work can have a detrimental effect on the physical capabilities of the player, such as shin splints, ankle and knee strains and hamstring problems. Heavier players are particularly susceptible to injuries with high forces transmitted by their weight on running impact.
In the case of a player who is overweight and almost all of his training is spent running, extra running could possibly cause overuse injuries of the legs. So the extra work ideally needs to be non-weight bearing. This could be indoor rowing, where the work intensities are high enough and the duration long enough to sway the calorific balance to a loss of weight.
From the book:
Years of rugby and repetitive rugby training drills can affect players with the accumulation of minor injuries and general fatigue. If general fitness levels are satisfactory, providing alternatives to the volume of running training performed by younger players can extend their playing time by a number of seasons. Regular sessions on the Concept 2 Indoor Rower will provide the necessary stimulus to maintain aerobic and anaerobic fitness. It will also provide a very necessary rest from the constant pounding of more specific rugby training.