Speed And Agility Training For Rugby

June 8, 2013 7:04 am1 commentViews: 241

Speed and agility are two of the mainstay qualities of the modern rugby player. Strength and endurance will always be of major importance, but combining sheer power and muscle bulk with the ability to change direction nimbly and accelerate at speed creates an awesome force on the pitch.

There is a commonly-held theory that we are all born with a finite amount of fast-twitch fibres and these are the things that give us our speed. That is true, it is impossible to create more fast-twitch muscle fibres, but what we can do is squeeze every last bit of speed out of those we have. If we are currently engaging 50 per cent of our potential when we sprint, then how much of an improvement will we see if we can raise that to 80 per cent or higher.

This is something that rugby players can work on during the off-season. When you complete a high-intensity speed Speed And Agility Training For Rugbysession, you will have built up a lot of lactic and your muscles will feel heavy the next day, so building speed and agilitysessions into your off-season, running into your pre-season training makes a lot of sense.

What is speed and agility?

 

Speed is the ability to sprint between two points in the fastest time possible. For rugby players, depending upon your position and style of play, the distance you would be expected to sprint could be anything from a few yards to the length of the pitch. However, it is important that your training is as specific and focused as it can be, so consider your own game – what are the usual distances you are expected to cover. Concentrate upon increasing your speed over these distances.

The most effective way to develop your sprinting ability is to do repeat sprints – with full recovery between each sprint – concentrating on your technique. Ask a coach to help you with this aspect of your training, either invite a coach to observe you training or post a video asking for analysis and advice.

Weight training to develop leg strength will also help improve sprinting, as will plyometric exercises such as leaping and bounding (see the training plan below for more details).

It is important when building up your legs through this type of work that you also maintain flexibility and mobility, so do plenty of stretching and even take part in a regular yoga session. This type of body management will help you both improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Agility is the ability to stop, start and change direction. The drills that work on your agility can be very stressful on the joints and soft tissue, so it is important not to overdo the amount of agility exercises you do. Running between off-set cones, jumping, leaping and bounding and some medicine ball drills will all help with improved agility.

Both speed and agility is hard on your body, so it is important to remember two rules:

1. Don’t run yourself into the ground – you are looking for quality not quantity; and

2. Ensure you leave at least 48 hours between one session and the next to give your body time to recover and for your muscles to benefit from the work you have done.

What does a speed and agility session look like?

 

Sprint Training:

Start with a general warm-up to raise body temperature. This could be a bodyweight circuit – squats, push-ups, chin-ups, jumping jacks, burpees etc

Dynamic stretching to increase mobility. This can involve high knee lifts, bum kicks, walking lunges etc

Mobility work to increase flexibility. Concentrate on hamstrings, quads and calves as well as the lower back and hips

Sprints – 2x10m, 2x20m, 2x30m, 2x40m, 2x50m – full recovery between each one. Start these from a variety of starting positions minimum – standing, lying down, mountain climber start, facing backwards, crouching etc

Flying Sprints – these involve a 30m build up then max effort for 1x20m, 1x25m, 1x30m – full recovery after each sprint

General cool down

 

Agility Training:

Start with a general warm-up to raise body temperature. This could be a bodyweight circuit – squats, push-ups, chin-ups, jumping jacks, burpees etc

Dynamic stretching to increase mobility. This can involve high knee lifts, bum kicks, walking lunges etc

Mobility work to increase flexibility. Concentrate on hamstrings, quads and calves. the lower back and hips and the shoulders and upper back

Explosive medicine-ball throws – throw the ball forward overhead and backward overhead, 2 sets of 10 each, follow this with a 3 minutes recovery

Plyometric drills – these can take many forms but here are some examples below, choose two or three exercises to do

1. Depth jump with 180 degree turn

Jump/step off of a low bench (40-45cm high), land on both feet, immediately jump as high as you can turning 180 degrees and land on both feet. Repeat. Alternate direction of turn with each repetition. Perform 3 sets of 4 with a rest period of 1 minute between each set

2. Box jumps

Set up three benches or boxes. (40-45cm high) about a metre apart. Start from the ground jumping up (swinging both arms at same time) onto the bench/box, then the ground, then the next bench/box, then the ground, etc., walk back to the start. Perform 6 times with a minutes rest between each set

3. Barrier hops

Set up four hurdles (this can be anything), 40 to 60cm high. Hop over each in line, using alternating legs. Walk back to beginning. Repeat 10 times.

4. Alternate bounding

This is actually an exaggerated running action. Begin with a short jog to get up to speed. At the starting line begin ‘bounding,’ pushing off hard with each step. The trailing leg should be extended, the knee bent (kick up your heels), and the leading leg extended as far forward as possible before landing without ‘braking’ your momentum.. Go as far as possible and stay in the air as long as possible with each step. Bound 6 steps and walk back to the beginning.

Cone drills

Set up three cones at varied angles to each other and at short distance apart (5-10m). Sprint to each one in turn, concentrating on turning sharply and maintaining your balance as you do so. Repeat 6 times with a rest between each one.

Cool down/recovery

The two sessions should never be done on the same, or even successive days. They can be combined with a weights session and the days in between speed or agility sessions can be aerobic or mobility session or a rest day.

Tags:

Leave a Reply