Training

6 Exercises For A Rugby Player Body

With the fifteenth Rugby League World Cup set to take place in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, we don’t blame you if it’s got you second-guessing your fitness goals. Whether League or Union, fan or aspiring player, all are united acknowledging the superhuman physique of each nation’s top players as they battle it out for the World Cup.

They possess the mass and strength of bodybuilders and require the endurance and conditioning to last an entire gruelling match of intermittent bursts of high (seriously high) intensity. This means serious training and a focus on nutrition to avoid getting too lean, and thus crushed on the pitch. It also means while loading they have to keep their cardio game up.

But as for muscle, there has to be something more to it that the average workout, surely. These players don’t get that big with the average bodybuilder’s routine, do they? From the average tackle to withstanding them and charging through defensive lines, core and leg strength are paramount. Compound lifts are, of course, at the heart of such mass building, but what else could you add to your repertoire to make your workout exceptional?

kettlebell exercises

Kettlebell Lateral Lunge

The kettlebell lateral lunge strengthens the muscles that are activated when changing direction or fending a side-on tackle. It also enhances core and back strength and increases hip and groin flexibility.

How to do it:

Stand with your knees bent slightly and feet shoulder-width apart while holding kettlebell with both hands in front of you.
Step to the right with your right foot and lower your hips into a lateral lunge.
Drive through the hip to return to starting position.
Finish all reps on the right, and then switch to your left.

Sets/Reps: 3×5 each leg

Kettlebell Bulgarian Squat

The kettlebell bulgarian squat increases your quad and glute strength, while improving your balance and stability.

How to do it:

Assume split stance with your rear foot on a bench behind you.
Hold the kettlebell in the hand opposite your front leg.
Lower your hips until your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
Drive up to start position; lower and repeat for specified reps.
Repeat set on your opposite leg.

Sets/Reps: 3×10 each leg

Glute Ham Raise

This is good for improving hamstring strength and developing speed

How to do it:

Assume position on the glute ham raise machine.
Lower your upper body until your waist is bent 90 degrees.
Fire your glutes and rise up until your upper body is parallel to the ground.
Drive your knees into the pad until your knees are bent 90 degrees and your body is upright.
Lower with control; repeat for specified reps.

Sets/Reps: 3×6

Cable-Resisted Physioball Crunch

How to do it:

Lie with your upper back on a physioball with a cable machine behind you.
Hold abdominal crunch straps in each hand just above your chest.
Perform crunch, keeping your core tight.
Slowly return to start position; repeat for specified reps.

Sets/Reps: 3×10-12

increase strength

Side Plank

This is perfect for targeting your obliques, which protects the lower back in the event of a tackle.

How to do it:

Lie on your side with your right elbow underneath your body.
Keeping your body straight, rise onto your elbow and the outside edge of your right foot; hold for specified time.
Perform on opposite side.

Sets/Duration: 2×45 seconds each side

Russian Twist

How to do it:

Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels just off the floor.
Holding a med ball at chest level, rotate left and touch the ball to the floor.
Rotate right and touch the ball to the floor.
Repeat in a controlled manner for specified reps.

Sets/Reps: 2×10 each side

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye has a MSc in Sport Physiology and Nutrition, and puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding. She enjoys a pun, and in her spare time loves dog walking and eating out.


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