Many amateur and professional rugby players include resistance training as part of their fitness regime in order to improve power and strength on the rugby pitch. Resistance training is often confused with weight training, but it is not always necessary to involve the use of resistances or loads. Push-ups, jump squats, lunges and climbing are all examples of exercises that can provide resistance training.
Resistance training is also referred to as 'strength training' because it involves the strengthening and toning of muscles by contracting them against a resisting force. Studies have shown that strength training can benefit the heart, improve balance, strengthen bones and define muscles, all of which are of great benefit to rugby players.
Below, Centurion lists 5 benefits of resistance training for rugby players.
1. Improves strength
There are two types of resistance training rugby players can undertake - Isometric resistance training which involves contracting muscles against a non-moving object such as the floor as part of a push-up, and Isotonic resistance training, which involves contracting muscles through a range of motion such as weight training. Both types of training are ideal for building up the strength of rugby players and keeping them in good shape.
2. Improves balance, co-ordination and posture
Balance, co-ordination and posture are all essential techniques required to play rugby, particularly when participating in a scrum. If you are looking to improve your flexibility and balance, studies have shown that resistance training can improve balance by as much as 40 per cent and is therefore an excellent way to help reduce the risk of falling.
3. Improves health and well being
Resistance training forms an essential part of disease prevention and can increase bone density and reduce the risk of bone fractures, a common occurrence on the rugby pitch. Furthermore, if rugby players develop any muscle weakness following an injury, strength training can form an essential role in building up the muscle tissue again.
4. Boosts energy levels
Resistance training can elevate the level of endorphins in your body (the natural opiates produced by the brain) which help to make you feel good, and it is therefore a great anti-depressant. The release of endorphins can also help improve sleep patterns, so with regular training, rugby players can benefit from good levels of sleep, which can be essential in the lead up to a match or tournament.
5. Burns Calories
Not only does your body burn calories during resistance training, you continue to burn calories after training which is known as a process called 'physiologic homework'. More calories are used to make and maintain muscle than fat, meaning resistance training can boost your metabolism by as much as 15 per cent.