Home > Rugby health and fitness > Five reasons why rugby players MUST train legs once a week

Five reasons why rugby players MUST train legs once a week

You finally rock up to the gym after convincing yourself to go and you realise that you haven’t trained legs in a while… but you’d much rather train chest or shoulders today.

It’s ok we’ve all been there, leg day can seen really daunting and tiring some days, but it’s really important not to neglect your lower body…. Especially for ruggers!

In this article I will write about the 5 top reasons I think that training lower body is super important.

1) Prevention from injuries:

Rugby injuries can affect anywhere on your body but ankle and knee injuries are up there with the most common injuries. In my team this year there are 3 girls with torn ACL’s, a very painful and slow recovering injury!

Sorry no music instagram is being a pain 😫 last night was the first time in nearly 2 months I could deadlift and also do bent over rows (I know dodgy form due to being out of practice) The fact that I had no pain was so satisfying as I know I have managed my injury correctly and patience pays off!! Starting off with very low weight again to build my strength and technique back up! – I’m off today to watch my team play and 2 weeks today will be my first game back😁🏉 – Enjoy the rest of your weekend🖤 – #fitnessmotivation #fitness #injury #injured #recovery #acj #fitfam #fitspo #gym #deadlift #weightlifting #gymgains #gymmotivation #gymlife #gymblog #fitnessphysique #fitnesslifestyle #weighttraining #womensrugby #rugby

A post shared by Ellie B Fitness🇬🇧 (@ellieb_fit97) on

Of course injuries happen to everyone and can be purely bad luck, but training correctly in the gym and weightlifting can massively help with strengthening your lower body and so prevent these injuries.

Online websites such as Bodybuilding.com can be great for finding exercises that will help if you suffer from knee pain such a stiff-legged deadlifts, barbell lunges and dumbbell step ups.

2) Speed and agility:

Are you wanting to score a few more tries this season? Feel a bit slow? Lower body training combined with sprint training is proven to be a great combination for increasing your speed on the rugby field.

So here’s a little smidge of my calf and quads session last night. I just wanna start off and say, the gym makes me super happy but not everyone will always get it. People question why you’re so dedicated and why you are strict with you diet but if it makes you happy then who cares😊 you will have people try to bring you down a long the way, but just focus on your long term goal and why you actually do it😎 – Soo anyway, box jumps are one of my favourite exercises in this workout as I love the explosive exercise that is great at getting your heart rate up and can be used as a form of cardio in HIIT too! I’ve always done jump squats as I used to be a hurdler in athletics when I was younger. Now, it is great for my rugby as the explosiveness from your glutes is amazing for sprinting! Going to increase the height slowly as a challenge💪🏻 It’s also so important to step down slowly between reps in order to reduce the impact on your knees and therefore prevent injury!! – Feeling like I’m getting stronger and finally flushing out this illness🙏🏻❤️ – – #fitness #fitgirls #fitspo #fitnessmotivation #workout #gymworkout #boxjumps #gym #training #rugby #fitfam #fitnessblog #fitnessphysique #gymmotivation #quads #gymgirl #puregym #gymshark #adidaswomen #athletic #gymlife

A post shared by Ellie B Fitness🇬🇧 (@ellieb_fit97) on

Using heavy weights in the gym during explosive exercises like squats and deadlifts as well as combining plyometric exercises such as box jumps will help to strengthen your glutes and lower body allowing you to sprint faster on the pitch.

3) Tackling technique:

Tackling is a large aspect in the game and places a large amount of stress on players’ bodies so it is vital to have the right mobility and strength in your joints and muscles for tackling purposes.

Professional rugby players use different forms of squats on a weekly basis whether that is front squats, back squats or box squats. Box squats are a popular one to incorporate into training programmes due to the explosive power through the ankles, hips and knees that allow you to lunge properly into a tackle.

Personally, my favourite squat for firing up the glutes are sumo squats, an exercise that I believe to have greatly strengthened my lower body.

4) Kicking:

Kicking may not be your priority within the game and you may not think you are Johnny Wilkinson, but it is a skill that everyone should be confident with in rugby.

I am guilty of not practicing my kicking enough and from my experience kicking is more crucial in the men’s game compared to the woman’s but it is still very important. Y

es, practicing your kicking is very important for executing those important conversions, but working on your lower body in the gym can also be important. Single leg exercises in the gym will help to improve your knee and leg extenders that are mostly used when performing a kick, such as single leg lunges (using ankle weights to make it harder) and other exercises such as single leg, leg press.

Improving the strength and control in your legs through lower body exercises will not only mean you see an improvement in your kicking, but when you have just run the length of the field and now have to kick a conversion, you are more likely to have the control to successfully make the conversion.

What is also important is preventing injury when having to kick and your muscles are fatigued, so making sure for those 80 minutes your kicking is as accurate as it can be.

5) It strengthens other muscle groups:

Lower body training in the gym actually helps to strengthen other body parts including creating a strong core that is crucial for rugby. Performing heavy squats and deadlifts and even body weight lunges will help to strengthen your core without having to do hundreds of situps and crunches (which is totally not necessary).

Having a strong core will benefit all aspects of rugby, so if you are a forward it will massively help with your positioning in scrums and rucks as well as tackling and for backs, again a strong core contributes to improving your speed and agility in games (and i guess we wingers have to tackle sometimes).

Although I have highlighted in this article that lower body strength and weight training is very important for your rugby, I am aware that there are risks of injury if you are not the most knowledgeable. I strongly recommend speaking to a coach or personal trainer if you are unsure of particular exercises.

If you are a little short of money i found that when i first started going to the gym watching videos on YouTube and online about how to perform exercises really helped.

I also want to add that you should forget about your ego in the gym, you might think that lifting the heaviest weights makes you look the best there, but it could cause unwanted injuries and it is much better to focus on your form and technique in the gym.

Lots of love as always,
Ellie xx

Leave a Reply