Rugby players require a unique mix of power, size and fitness. In fact, some of the biggest players on the field, the tight forwards, have the most cardiovascular fitness due to constantly running between rucks as well having the energy to drive into the ruck, then get up and do it again. In between, they need the energy and focus to be able to concentrate on their set pieces, such as scrums, lineouts and kickoffs. While maintaining this fitness, rugby players often try to put on 10 – 20kgs of muscle to not only be stronger, but to condition themselves to the hits involved in rugby. They often turn to a sports supplement to help get the requisite calories, protein and carbohydrates a day.
Rugby muscle needs to be strong, but it also needs to be explosive, so it’s not just about how much weight rugby players can lift. Explosiveness is obviously important in the backs, where they may need to be static one moment, and busting through a tackle then next. However, it is just as important in the forwards. There is a tendency to focus too much on a rugby player’s size, and how much they lift in the gym. How fast the forward can recover is also important. This is so they can move players when they hit a ruck, then minutes later lift a 120kg player in a lineout, or push in a scrum. To assist with this, a rugby players workout often involves high intensity training.
Maximuscle are the supplements behind The British and Irish Lions, the Northampton Saints, Wigan Warriors, Harlequins Rugby Union, the Wales rugby team, the Russian Rugby Federation, Benetton Rugby as well as individual rugby stars Tom Reese, Courtney Lawes, Johnny Sexton, Lee Byrne and Ugo Monye.
Maximuscle recently used the amateur players from the Staines Rugby Club to show what a difference following a structured training regime and decent supplementation can make. This involved a six week programme to see what sort of gains the rugby players could get out of their performance. This programme included fitness tests, strength, power, speed and endurance.
Rob McGarr from FHM magazine was one of the players put through his paces on the fitness and nutrition supplementation programme. Some of the workouts they endured were akin to what professional rugby players, like the England Rugby team, go through. You can read a bit more about the intense workouts they were given in Rob’s FHM online article here.
Here’s a video from the FHM site to show what the players went through:
The video is fronted by Tom Rees, who played for the Wasps at that time, but retired earlier this year. The rugby player workout was very high intensity, featuring a lot of lying with chest down then jumping up and sprinting. To improve explosiveness other exercises included chest passing a medicine ball, jumping as high as they could from a standing position, and sprinting. There was also some practicing of ball skills and passing.
Maximuscle also sponsors the London Duathlon and the London and Blenheim Triathlons. As well as the rugby union teams and players already mentioned, they partner with the England and Wales Cricket Board, Fulham, Everton, Rangers and Celtic Football Clubs, British Judo, Great Britain and England Hockey and British Weight Lifting.