Rugby Match Simulation Training

Here is a little bonus for you and what I call match simulation conditioning.  We mostly condition by doing sprints or doing some type of strength training circuit.  What I have found throughout my years of playing and training others is that what seems to help boost conditioning the most is combining running with exercise.  


When you think about what you do in a rugby match you are constantly running and then making a tackle, being tackled, or rucking.  That is why I like to model my conditioning around the idea of running and then doing some sort of demanding exercise. If you are quick to get to the ruck that’s great, but if you fail in the ruck that’s no good.  


If you want to be better at constantly being able to sprint and then be powerful in a ruck or tackle then you need to train that way.  We can do a good job of simulating it with the combination of running and exercise.


With this type of training, you can get quite creative.  Now don’t think this has to be done with only running. You can use a bike or rower as well.  An example would be doing a 50 meter sprint and then doing 10 burpees at the end. You could reverse that as well and do 10 burpees and then sprint 50 meters.  Sometimes you make a tackle and then need to be in support quickly.


The movements you implement with the running should be power-based.  I have never seen someone sprint in a rugby match then start bench pressing.  This is why the movements should be more explosive as they closely simulate a ruck or tackle.  There are no exercise movements that simulate a tackle or ruck, but we can simulate being explosive.  There are quite a bit of different power movements you can do here the ones I prefer the most are using bodyweight, sandbags, or kettlebells.  These tools don’t require much space and very portable.


For bodyweight movements burpees, power push-ups, squat jumps are all good choices.  Good choices for sandbags are sandbag shouldering and cleans with a push press. Kettlebell movements that work well are thrusters, swings, snatches, and long cycle.  


Outside is always going to best for training this way, but sometimes you may not have access to space.  You can easily do this stuff next to a bike, rower, or even a treadmill in a packed gym. If doing this outside my rest would be a jog back or mobility work.  Using the bike or rower the rest would be a mobility exercise such as doing a lunge with a twist. During the rest we want to be moving and for it to be recuperative and not draining.  


Here are 3 different types of match simulation training.



Different variations you can use are:
-Sprint then do an exercise
-Exercise then sprint
-Sprint do an exercise then sprint back
-Exercise, sprint down, exercise, sprint back

Here are 2 examples.



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