When it comes to strength and conditioning in Rugby Union, how strong is strong enough? Should the emphasis within rugby strength and conditioning be to simply make the players stronger and stronger? Or, is it possible for players to be ‘strong enough’ and therefore the emphasis of their strength and conditioning programme should be on improving other performance based attributes?
Before delving deeper into this argument it is crucial to first define strength. Rugby is a power sport where the strength that a player can express is constrained by time. What is crucial is being able to exert maximal force in as short a time as possible. It is no use being the player that has insane levels of absolute strength (maximal strength – no time constraints) if you only have the ability to express a small percentage of this strength in a match situation.
So do maximal levels of strength in rugby players not matter? No, of course they matter! Strength is crucial in laying the foundation for further athletic development, alongside being vital in injury prevention. In the early years of strength training there will be a high transfer of training from maximal strength training to rugby performance. In addition, what needs to be considered is the position of a player and thus the activities they are expected to perform during a match. As a general rule of thumb, the closer a player’s position is to the front row the stronger he/she needs to be.
However, on the other hand, once a player has been strength training for a number of years and attained a good level of maximal strength, will further maximal strength gains lead to improved performance on the pitch?
However, on the other hand, once a player has been strength training for a number of years and attained a good level of maximal strength, will further maximal strength gains lead to improved performance on the pitch? Perhaps not. Instead, the focus of this player’s S&C programme will likely be in translating these strength levels to sport-specific activities. Moreover, the biggest ability is availability. Recovery and regeneration methods become a method of training in itself – ensuring that this player is fresh and ready to perform optimally week in week out.
So how strong is strong enough? Well, it depends. It depends on the player – their position, their age, their training age, their injury history, the level of rugby they play at… the list goes on.
That’s why the Athlete Development Programme at Rigs Fitness begins with an athlete profile and needs analysis, as well as an individualised movement screen and athletic screening in order to gather as much information about the athlete before programming. We then provide bespoke, structured and evidence-based strength and conditioning support to take the guesswork out of your training and help achieve your goals.
We believe in performing fundamental movements and doing them well; no gimmicks or shortcuts. Our carefully planned, progressive and strategic approach to your training will ensure you move, feel and perform better than ever.
If you’re interested in training on the Rigs Athlete Development Programme get in touch with our head of performance Josh Bridgeman today on:
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