Weight training, endurance, mental toughness and proper diet are key to meaningful success in rugby. If John Pryor’s philosophy is anything to go by sprint speed is probably the most measurable way to demonstrate your potential as a player. Here are 5 simple ways you can use to increase your rugby strength.
Developing Eccentric and Isometric Hamstring Strength
Isometric and eccentric workouts while training your hamstring improves your acceleration level. When you run, the hamstring doesn’t act as a knee reflector, this helps in the stability of the joints. Moreover, when swinging, they assist in slowing down your knee extension through glutes. When exercising, add weight in the form of dumbbell or barbell placed across your waist whenever necessary.
Improving Your Stride Length
Most players make the mistake of taking short steps when trying to run fast. However, it is advisable take longer steps with a lot of power and force. Whatever you do, just make sure you don’t lean frontward using your front legs; your focus should be to create more power on your back. If your foot lands in front of your center of gravity when accelerating, it slows you down hence focus on driving your feet back letting it hit the floor. If you do a few repetitions at the start of your exercise routine you will create strong hip expansions.
Doing Heavy Sled Drags
Performing heavy sled drags will increase your velocity. To be considered heavy, the weight on the sled must be close to your maximum squats so as to achieve triple extension on the hind legs as you push your front knee in front. Drive your front foot down and back into the ground to propel yourself forward rather than reaching out and pulling yourself forward. For best results start by using ten percent of your body weight on the sled and alternate between unresisted and resisted sprints for twenty minutes while getting enough rest.
Hills are used for conditioning but when used with enough rest they are good for speed. Just like sleds, they push the front lean for acceleration which is important for rugby given that most sprints are below forty minutes. Do about 40 minutes of sprinting, but remember you must rest well in between the repetitions. Hills are good for John Pryor’s players who just came back from nursing injuries.
Encourage Wall Drills
Wall drills are great for ensuring body hardness in the right position. They help players who have coordination issues while pointing out their weak points. Your toe must remain up when lifting your knee and stay in the right posture. You can do this as part of your warm up designed to fire up your glutes and hip flexors.
Speed is a priceless asset at any level of competitive gaming, so if you wish to improve and make yourself more marketable to coaches and teams follow the above tips. Pryor spent long period of time doing sprints, martial arts and sports science and understands how the pieces of athletic puzzle should be put together. You can learn a lot from Pryor’s experience to increase rugby strength.