Rugby Fitness in the Time of Corona

It seems like a blink of an eye ago that we were all ushering in and celebrating the new year. “2020” had a nice ring to it and still on the buzz from RWC Japan, we all looked forward to all the great Rugby that would be coming over the next 12 months.

Next thing you know, there was a full-on global pandemic with an interjection of toilet paper scarcity and now we are three-quarters into the year, with most of it spent indoors.

If we are all being honest, it is safe to say that when we played Rugby, we preferred to be on the field playing rather than the compulsory training but as many wise coaches have reminded us – “Get fit to play Rugby, don’t play Rugby to get fit!”

So with all the different national and regional rules and regulations that may be in place due to the Coronavirus, we have decided to share some of the best exercises and workouts that you can do by yourself, with little or no equipment, at home or in restricted outdoor space.

Ask most forwards and their answer to what they think about running long distances will be that it is absolutely unnecessary; you run straight for a maximum of three meters before you crash into an opposition. Ask most backs and they can’t get enough of avoiding contact and will do everything they can i.e. run away hence the continuous focus on running.

The simple truth is that the longer you can run, the longer you can play. The better your oxygen retention, the better you can play. Running and/ or cardio will definitely help.

If it has been months since your last run, take the gradual step back into it through walking. A brisk walk will get your core temperature up and your leg muscles adjusted to movement especially if you haven’t trained in a while. You can gradually move yourself up to jogging and then increase the pace into a run.

If you only have a limited amount of space to run in and you don’t have access to a treadmill, shuttle runs with distances varying from 10 to 100 meters can be an alternative. “Broncos” – sprint shuttles of 5 repetitions of 20/ 40/ 60 meters are an excellent cardio exercise.

Prefer the indoors? You can skip rope or even do starjumps.

Try to do some cardio regularly because as everyone knows, it gets easier but the difficult part is in order for it to get easier, you have to do it regularly.

For strength training, bodyweight exercises does the job if you don’t have access to weights or a gym.

Perhaps the best two exercises for your upper body strength are push-ups, pull-ups along with their variations. Wide-arm, triangle, downward dog and spiderman push-ups all work out different parts of your upper body and focus on different muscle groups. At the same time, they will gradually increase your strength and also tone your muscles and give you that extra boost of confidence in your appearance.

­Sit-ups, reverse sit-ups and side crunches will strengthen your core and for lower-body exercises, simple squats and their variations along with jumps will do wonders for strength and also help with your speed.

One of the ways to make sure you keep exercising is to design a workout plan that works for you. Consider your personal goals, time constraints and also the space and equipment you have to work with. Everyone has different levels of fitness so do what works best for you.

Designing your own workout will allow you to own your personal workout whether it is focused on running and cardio, strength training or even a circuit that maximizes your time. “Tabata” and “Pyramid” circuits can be found online for you to start off with and you can always adjust as necessary.

On a final note, other sports and ballgames such as basketball, shadowboxing and even something fun like learning how to juggle will all contribute to your overall skillset in Rugby and it is also essential to pay attention to your nutrition and rest. Whatever you do, don’t give up on Rugby… Stay safe, stay secure and see you at a Rugby event hopefully very, very soon!


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