Rugby requires the perfect mix of cardio and explosiveness. If you want to excel at rugby you need a big gas tank that can carry you for the full 80 minutes but you also need to be capable of short explosive bursts throughout the match. So what is the ideal rugby practice length that prepares athletes for the rigours of rugby?
How long does rugby training last?
A typical rugby training session will last for between 90 to 120 minutes. It will often consist of stretching, warm-up, non contact drills, contact drills, mock matches and potentially some conditioning exercises such as sprints and agility drills.
Here Is A Breakdown Of A Typical A Rugby Training:
Stretching – 10 minutes
Rugby players will perform a variety of stretches to prepare their muscles and ligaments for the abuse of rugby. Players will focus on stretching hamstrings, ankles, groin, knee, shoulders, back and necks.
Before training you should focus on dynamic stretching which is where you move your body through a full range of motion as it does not reduce power output like some other forms of stretching . Suitable dynamic stretches for rugby include arm swings, hopping, skipping and cariocas.
Rugby players should perform static stretching which is where you hold particular poses for time such as touching your toes after training as it has been shown to be effective in helping athletes make permanent improvements to their flexibility.
Warmup – 20 minutes
After stretching rugby players will start warming their bodies up with some more specific rugby movements. Popular warmups include a game of touch rugby and jogging while passing the ball.
Non Contact Drills – 30-45 minutes
After players are nice and warm it is time for them to work on their skill development. Typically the whole team will perform some drills together. These usually include different passing and line running exercises.
After doing some team drills the forwards and backs will split up and perform position specific drills. The backs will often practice different plays while the forwards will practice scrummaging, lineouts and breakdown technique.
Contact Drills – 30-45 minutes
After the athletes have performed a number of non contact drills it is time to up the intensity and add some contact. Contact drills are often similar to non contact drills but with the added element of contact. Players will practice cleaning out, tackling, mauling, ball running and all elements of rugby that involve contact.
Mock Match – 20-30 minutes
Rugby training will usually conclude with a mock match, this can be done with or without contact, depending on what your coach decides is best. You will often start in different scenarios and your coach may call out different scenarios.
For example the match may start with a scrum at your 22. Then after the attacking side scores the coach may call for a restart from a lineout. This is a way to practice specific scenarios that your side may need some extra practice at.
Why Is Rugby Training 1.5 hours to 2 hours long?
Rugby is a complex game that is physically demanding. Players need to spend a large amount of time not only developing rugby specific skills such as kicking, scrummaging, passing and tackling but also developing their speed, power and cardio.
The combination of developing rugby technique and physical preparedness takes time and due to that rugby players need to spend a lot of time out on the training pitch.
Who is going to be better at rugby, the player who practiced passing 1000 times or the player who has only practiced 100 times? If you are a betting man you are taking player A everyday of the week. The more time an athlete spends practicing the better they are going to become.
If you do not spend enough time at rugby training not only will your skills not improve but they may even atrophy. This is also true for your physical condition. If you train like a madman and get yourself into tip top shape for the rugby season but then only spend a fraction of your pre-season training time out on the rugby field you will see your strength and conditioning nose dive and your performance will suffer.
To ensure your rugby skills and your conditioning keeps improving you need to be training for hours and hours every week. Your body is more than happy to revert itself back to its pre-trained state. You need to stop this happening by continually working your body and forcing it to adapt to the rugby related stress you place on it.
How Many Days A Week Do Rugby Players Train?
Amateur rugby players will train 2-3 times a week with each training session lasting for 1.5 to 2 hours. While professional players will often train 5-6 times a week with some multiple training sessions mixed in particularly during the pre-season.
Playing rugby is no small commitment even amateurs playing for their local footy club will turn up to training twice a week and then play a game on saturday. Rugby is a difficult sport and to prepare your body you need to be training regularly otherwise your body won’t adapt and you will find your skills and fitness don’t improve, harming your on field performance.
As you play higher and higher levels of rugby your commitment and love of the game will be further tested. The game of rugby becomes more physically challenging the higher grades you play as you will come up against highly conditioned athletes who have spent years and years developing their skills and their bodies.
If you want to successfully compete against such rugby athletes you will need to up your training volume. This means you will be expected to train rugby 4-5 times a week and then also do 2-3 conditioning sessions a week on top of your on field training.
With this much training volume rugby can really take over your life but with the prospect of 6 or even 7 figure professional contracts on the line a lot of aspiring professionals are more than willing to dedicate their entire existence to the game of rugby.
Rugby training is a difficult sport which will challenge your skills and your conditioning. To successfully meet this challenge players will dedicate a lot of time and effort to training.
Amateur rugby players will usually train 2 to 3 times a week while professional players will train 4 to 5 times a week and are expected to undergo an additional 2 to 3 strength sessions a week. Sessions typically last for at least 1 hour with standard rugby practice lasting for 1.5 to 2 hours.