5 Simple Conditioning Sessions for Rugby

Why do you need 5 simple conditioning sessions for rugby?

Imagine, you’ve turned up to training and the kit man has done a runner and there is no equipment out. What do you do? In the past rugby players would have had a game of touch for half an hour, then gone down the pub for a few pints! But you’re more professional, you’re a Renegade and you want to get the most out of your training… don’t you??

Well here are 5 simple conditioning sessions that you can set up for rugby without any cones, sleds, balls, bibs or parachutes! Just bring intensity and work rate!!

  1. Phosphate Decrement Intervals

The phosphate decrement test is a fitness test that involves performing 10x 40m max effort sprints on a 30 second turnaround (meaning you start a rep every 30 seconds). It is an intense test that is particularly suitable for rugby to test repeated sprint ability. Here are a couple examples of this format:

3 sets of 6 – 40m (try line to near 10m line!), on a 30s turnaround, 2-3min rest between sets. Each week add 2 reps to each set so on week 3 it will be 3 sets 0f 10.

6x60m, 6x50m, 6x40m all on a 30s turnaround, 90-120s rest between sets.

Week 2 – do 6x60m, 2x6x50m.
Week 3 – do 2x6x60m, 6x50m.
Week 4 – do 3x6x60m.

  1. 22m Shuttles

Set 1 – Sprint from Try line to 22m line and back max effort on a 30s turnaround perform 6 reps. Rest 90s

Set 2 – Sprint from Try line to 5m line and back then to 22m line and back on a 30s turnaround perform 6 reps. Rest 90s

Set 3 – Run from Try line to 22m line and back then back to 22m line (3x22m) on a 30s turnaround. Each week add a rep to each set.

This session increases the change of direction and the work:rest ratio gets harder in each set, making it ideal for the variety of work:rest ratios seen in rugby. If you’re feeling really fired up throw in a down and up on each turn!

  1. Malcolm Drill

Malcolm’s as they are affectionately known come from New Zealand and are a savagely tough drill! Start on the halfway line on your chest, jump up and sprint forward to the 10m line, perform a down and up, turn and sprint to the far 10m line, turn and sprint back to the halfway line. That’s one rep.

A “full Malcolm’ is 6 reps continuously. A good start is to do 1 and build up to 4 then back down to 1. Use a 1:1 work:rest ratio (rest the same amount of time it takes to perform each set). Progress by adding reps until you hit 6!

  1. Coat Hangers

Start on the touchline looking down the 22m line. Run along the 22m line until you hit the touchline, the turn so you run diagonally across the pitch towards the posts, run around the posts and diagonally back to the start position (22m/touchline). These should take you about 30s if you really push the pace. Rest 30s and repeat for a total of reps. Rest 2 mins and perform 3 more sets for a total of 4.

  1. Eliminator Sets

Here you perform max effort sprints followed by walking recovery and with each rep the sprint decreases but the rest increases. Start on the Try line and sprint the length of the pitch to the far try line. Turn and walk to the 22m line then sprint to the try line, turn and walk to the near 10m line. Turn and sprint to the try line.

Continue in this fashion for all the lines on the pitch excluding the 5m lines. Just remember to always finish the sprint running into the try line. This gives you a total of 6 sprints with varying work to rest intervals. One set usually takes 3-4mins. Rest for half the duration of the work set and repeat for 3-4 sets.

There you go. 5 simple conditioning sessions for rugby that you can set up just using the lines on the pitch. Use them as stand alone sessions or a finisher after a rugby session, you’ll soon be ahead of the play and dominating the opposition.

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