Fitness And Strength Questions

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by Matt1biz, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. Matt1biz

    Matt1biz Guest

    After spending several years playing at probably 50% of my potential I've decided to try and get properly fit for this upcoming season.

    A couple of months ago I gave up smoking, improved my diet and started running and doing weights.

    I'm now doing 5-7k runs 3-4 times each week and doing weights at the same time.

    I have a couple of questions now I've reached this stage,

    With weights, how much should I be doing, is it better to be lifting as heavy as possible doing 20-30 total reps each session, or lifting heavy(ish) weights for 50-60 reps each session?

    What range of exercises should I be doing? I have a bench and some dumbells, each session I'm doing,

    Bench presses
    Bicep curls
    Bent over rows
    Resistance situps
    Leg Extensions

    What other exercises could/should I be doing with my equipment to hand?

    I also need to be loosing some weight, I've noticed some drop off over the past couple of months, though I'm unsure if it's better to try and bulk up more and rely on the extra bulk to burn off the fat, or to concentrate on cutting my calories, losing the fat and then bulking more.

    Has anyone got any tips on how to deal with this?

    Thanks :)

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  3. BokMagic

    BokMagic Guest

    Howzit Matt. Just a couple of questions before I can offer any advice. What position do you play? Because that`ll determine a lot of the type of fitness/strength training that you`ll need to do. For instance, a prop will need a helluva lot of leg and shoulder strength, while a flanker will need to work a lot on arm strength.

    In general, it`s good to work on those 5-7km runs, improving general fitness to get you through the 80 minutes. But, in rugby you generally do a lot of short, sharp sprints. So your type of running training will also depend on your position. If you`re in the backline or back row, you`ll need to get some intense sprint sessions in too, in order to increase general speed.
  4. Matt1biz

    Matt1biz Guest

    Hey, thanks for the reply :)

    I play second row, though I like to get stuck in loose play rather than dobbing around in the middle of the pitch :p

    I agree with you on the sprint training, I'm trying to find a squash partner at the moment, as far as I can see you need a pretty similar level and type of fitness for playing in the forwards and playing squash.
  5. Beardy

    Beardy Guest

    Squats, deadlifts, rows, chinups, bench press, military press.
  6. BokMagic

    BokMagic Guest

    Yeah, Beardy`s got most of those spot on.

    What you`ll need is to work on your explosive leg power- squats definately, probably your most important exercise. Also the leg presses and don`t forget the straight-legged deadlifts too mate.

    And you also need to work on your shoulder strength for those big hits and cleaning out at ruck time. Shoulder presses are a good route to go, but for the most explosive shoulder strength, get into some clean-and-jerks too. Just make sure you`ve got the technique sorted, or else you might end up injuring your back.

    And another good idea is to try your standing long jumps and standing high jumps in order to increase your general jumping ability- pretty essential for a second rower. Also, as strange as this might sound, try to get yourself into an Olympic-style wrestling class. Comes in very handy with both tackling and ripping the ball in contact.
  7. sublicon

    sublicon Guest

    Do a search for "rugby fitness" in Google and you'll find a wealth of stuff. The website I really like that is rugby specific is here.

    The only advice I can give is as far as what you do in the gym is to build your workout around the compound lifts, as you've mentioned and others: squat, deadlift, bench press. Power cleans are definitely a must also, but don't run before you can walk. These lifts work the most muscle groups at once, so they are invaluable to your workout.

    There's also a wealth of general fitness information here. I use this site all the time, its really an excellent tool to design well-rounded workouts and to expand your vocabulary in the gym as far as what exercises will be most beneficial to you.
  8. rugby_video

    rugby_video Guest

    hey there

    when you say , i improved my diet. what was your diet and what is it now? i'd like to say that what & when you eat is just as important as what and when you train. its overlooked a lot.

    i'd consider doing the following. for my 2c.

    for improvement on strenth. low rep sets with 90% lift on first rep after warm ups.

    deadlifts, pyramid sets warm up, 90% set, 6,6,6,6
    bent over row
    morning glory

    bench press
    decline bench press
    overhead pull

    military press
    shrugs - this works for me. make weight very high, and hold on till your shoulders scream!!!!

    dont forget calfs!!! big mistake, make sure you train early on in your gym program. catching up is hard.

    hope that helps, cheers

  9. Seaeagles

    Seaeagles Guest

    Awesome site... cheers
  10. chinwaggler

    chinwaggler Guest

    If I were you as a lock...

    I would do some HIIT instead of running 5-7k

    Weights: focus on shoulders, legs, back, pecs and triceps.

    whoops bit of a late reply isn't this. sorry hopefully you'll still have some space for advice
  11. Caledfwlch

    Caledfwlch Guest

    Just that bit on training the calves. Any specific exercises? Been blasting them for ages and they haven't grown at all.
  12. chinwaggler

    chinwaggler Guest

    Calfs are hard to do and people usually forget about them as rugby_video said.

    How are you blasting away at your calves at the moment?

    One exercise, I think its called a calf extension, is:

    Get two dumbells in your hands or place a bar on your shoulders and basically try to stand on tip toes, pause for 1/2 second and go back down. You should alternate between pausing and trying to do it as fast as you can. However when you do it quickly, make sure you go all the way onto your toes as when the calves tire they are hard to do so.

    You can also get weight machines where 1. you stand on a ledge and go up on your tip toes with a weight on your shoulders and 2. you sit down and press a weight way from you with your calves.
  13. Caledfwlch

    Caledfwlch Guest

    Calfs are hard to do and people usually forget about them as rugby_video said.

    How are you blasting away at your calves at the moment?

    One exercise, I think its called a calf extension, is:

    Get two dumbells in your hands or place a bar on your shoulders and basically try to stand on tip toes, pause for 1/2 second and go back down. You should alternate between pausing and trying to do it as fast as you can. However when you do it quickly, make sure you go all the way onto your toes as when the calves tire they are hard to do so.

    You can also get weight machines where 1. you stand on a ledge and go up on your tip toes with a weight on your shoulders and 2. you sit down and press a weight way from you with your calves. [/b][/quote]

    i've been doing all that, and i can see no visible improvement in terms of mass and fact, besides my biceps, that is the muscle group i target the most
  14. Calves are a highly adaptive muscle and you need to regularly alternate the exercises you're doing to keep making an impact on them. Running on an incline can definitely help and make sure you stretch them.

    As for the main topic of dicussion, you can basically break your training down around three main muscle groups and a key exercise for each of them.
    For chest: bench press
    For legs: squat
    For back: deadlift

    You should make sure you pack in a lot of sets of squat and deadlift especially. Any other exercises you do are peripherals to the big three mentioned above. Make sure you do a lot of core training so lots of abs and chin ups with different grips. the other thing you need is to make sure you eat regularly. a good snack right after you're done training is recommended high on proteins and calories. It doesn't need to be a protein shake, but things like bread and peanut butter, meat and potatoes (don't neglect your veggies), eggs, milk, etc. It doesn't need ot be a big meal either. Just make sure you take something in right after working out and that you eat and hydrate regularly throughout the day.
  15. Caledfwlch

    Caledfwlch Guest

    would squash help the calves?
  16. chinwaggler

    chinwaggler Guest

    Squash wouldn't help build any muscle all it would do is tone it as do all cardiovascular exercises. The only exercise that can build muscle is weights.

    Several reasons there could be for you not seeing any results.

    1: Maybe you are not focusing on them enough. You said you focus mainly on your biceps and they have results, maybe you should spend more time on your calves if you want results.

    2: You are using the wrong reps/sets. Just because you are doing weights doesn't necessarily mean you should be gaining muscle mass. As a general rule, a high amount of repetitions, once or twice, will tone your muscles. A low amount of repetitions, with many sets (3+) should build muscle.

    3: Connected with 2, even if you are doing low reps, you may not be using the right weight.

    Now for solutions :cheers:

    1: I would suggest at least one heavy session on them, three times a week. During these sessions you should.......

    2: An ideal rep/set combo would be 6-8 repetitions, 3-5 times.

    3: After each set, you find walking difficult, this means that you have used a heavy enough weight. If you can still walk fine but your muscles are aching, you have used heavy weights but they are not heavy enough.

    If you think about it, whenever you take a step, your calfs are pushing your body weight which for me is 72kg. So, if I were to train my calfs and use 50kg and do 30 reps..... that's just like taking 20 long strides.
    Make sure you use a heavy enough weight.

    If you want to widen your calfs, then you also need to focus a muscle behind the main diamond shaped one you can see. To do this, a useful exercise is to sit down, knees at 90 degrees, have weights on top of your knees and go ballet style.

    If you want a sort of confirmation that your workout was decent, then as you probably know, your muscles should ache the next few days.

    Basically, make sure you use a heavy enough weight, don't do more than 8 reps, and pain is good. :cheers:
  17. Get In Lads!

    Get In Lads! Guest

    Plenty of good advice on this thread so I thought I'd chip in with a bit more, I've been lifting weights for a few years now and know a thing or two about it.

    First of all, do all exercises with the correct form. Good form means executing the lifts you are doing keeping your body in the correct position and not having to compensate with muscles you are not working in that exercise. Never sacrifice good form for increased weight. Poor form is less effective for muscle development and could even lead to an injury if you are not careful.

    When you begin weightlifting, be sure to alter your diet as well. Fear not, this does not involve having to count calories or anything like that! Just increase the amount of protein that you are consuming in order to enable your muscles to grow after a workout. Beef, fish, ham, bacon, chicken, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt are all good sources of protein.

    I'd start with ten reps per set for leg exercises and eight reps per set for other body parts, as if you are just coming to weightlifting, your leg muscles will typically be a bit stronger than the rest of your body. As people have already said, lots of reps at lesser weights will tone muscles, a few at higher weights will increase muscles. Doing between eight and ten, I find, is a happy medium.

    If you are stuggling to finish a set, say you have got to six and know you won't be able to do two more bench presses - DON'T GIVE UP. Just stop, decrease the weight slightly so you can manage it, and finish your set.

    Do five sets each of squats, bench press and deadlifts - these should be your bread and butter. Three sets each for other exercises - good suggestions include bicep curls, calf raises, shoulder press, shrugs, seated row and lateral pulldowns. Do between eight and ten exercises per session.

    If you absolutely ache the next morning - GOOD. Chew down some sausages, bacon and eggs, wash it down with some milk and prepare to start over again! I'd try to go two or three sessions a week and be sure to to take a rest day after you have been to the gym.

    Hope this helps mates!

  18. ama1

    ama1 Guest

    Heres a few running workouts that I used pre-season and post-season to build my stamina levels.
    Mark out an area 40metres in length.(Either on a marked field or just step out the distance between mailboxes).
    Put one cone, shoe or other marker at the beginning and another marker at the end of the 40metre circuit.I start a stopwatch and try to sprint from one marker (set at the beginning) to the other (at the 40metre mark) and back again. There and back 5 times.We tried our best to do the whole circuit in under 60 seconds or so.
    I usually train with a friend (we are both loose forwards), so we take turns. I have a short rest and time him while he runs and vice versa. We try to do this after a 5-10 min warm up and we do 3 sets of this circuit usually 2 to 3 times a week (if we can). It used to take roughly 20 mins to complete.

    Another workout we do is just 10 sets of 40 metre sprints with a timed rest period. Sprint from point A (The Start) to point B (The Finish line).When we get to point B, we start the timer and have 25 seconds to jog slowly back to the point A and get ready for the next sprint. The other person calls out the last 5 seconds of the 25 second break - and calls out Go! when time is up. We use a stopwatch and only start the timer when the runner reaches point B. We reset the stopwatch when its time to do the next sprint. We did this for 8 weeks - every week, we decreased the rest time by 1 second.

    Lastly, we just ran on a rugby field and ran at different speeds throughout the different areas of the field. Between the goal line and 22m line - we jogged at 50% relative intensity.
    Between the 22m line and the 50m line - we sprinted as hard as we could
    Between the 50m line and the second 22m line - we jogged at 50% relative intensity again and
    Between the 22m line to the goal line - we sprinted again.
    From one goal line to the other, and back ,2 times.
  19. ama1

    ama1 Guest

    I did the running workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays (sometimes Saturdays if I could be bothered) plus the following strength training workouts on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays. The routine is just a bare bones workout.Mostly basic barbell and dumbbell weights type exercises with optional bodyweight exercises. Since strength was the main focus, I used a routine called the 3 X 5 method from an awesome strength training book called "Beyond Bodybuilding" by Pavel Tsatsouline.
    3 sets of each exercise for 5 reps.

    Workout A

    1.)CHEST:Bench Press or Push-Ups or One Arm Push Ups (You can place one hand on a book and gradually move the non pushing hand away further from your centre of mass/torso. (Better variations are in a book called "The Naked Warrior", by Pavel Tsatsouline.)
    2.)BACK:Barbell Rowing or Pull-Ups or Horizontal Bodyweight Rowing (lie a strong Broomstick or bar between two stable chairs. Lie under it (as if you are about to do a bench press)grabbing the bar with a palms under grip. Pull yourself up, trying to squeeze the crap out of your middle part of your back -between shoulder blades. Feet can stay on the ground, but as you get stronger - try to do it with one leg on the ground)
    3.)SHOULDERS:Barbell Military Press or Piked Push Ups (Feet spread apart, knees may have to bend a bit, depending on flexibility - hands in a push up position. Trying to make an upside down U shape with your body. Walk until your torso is almost upright, by moving your head as close as you can towards your feet almost as if doing a feet on the ground handstand. As you get stronger, use one leg as support)
    4.)TRICEPS: Close Grip Bench Press or Parallel Bar Dips or Tricep Dips between 2 chairs

    Workout B

    1.)QUADS: Barbell Squats or Bodyweight Squats or One legged Lunges / Squats
    2.)LOWER BACK/ HAMSTRINGS: Barbell Deadlifts or Glute Ham Raises
    3.)CALVES: Barbell Calf Raises or One Legged Bodyweight Calf Raises or Jumping Rope
    4.)BICEPS: Barbell Bicep Curls or Close Grip Palms Facing Inward Pull Ups.

    Week One: Monday- Workout A
    Wednesday - Workout B
    Friday -Workout A

    Week Two: Monday - Workout B
    Wednesday - Workout A
    Friday - Workout B...etc

    Try to take a week off training once every 6-8 weeks.
    This routine is very brief - I will post a pretty good twice a week ab routine later on,possibly tomorrow as I am tired.
    Apologies if anyone is unfamiliar with these exercises. Just google them or you can find demos of them on a site such as youtube.

  20. ama1

    ama1 Guest

    The Lying Down Ab Workout.
    No Equipment Required. Try to complete the following circuit in a continuous fashion. Just follow the rep scheme as shown below.

    Start by doing
    2 Lying Leg Raises
    2 Curl Ups
    2 Lying Russian Twists
    Go straight into
    4 Lying Leg Raises
    4 Curl Ups
    4 Lying Russian Twists
    Continue on to
    6 Lying Leg Raises
    6 Curl Ups
    6 Lying Russian Twists
    8 Lying Leg Raises
    8 Curl Ups
    8 Lying Russian Twists
    Followed By
    10 Lying Leg Raises
    10 Curl Ups
    10 Lying Russian Twists
    Proceed By Doing
    8 Lying Leg Raises
    8 Curl Ups
    8 Lying Russian Twists
    Follow That Up With
    6 Lying Leg Raises
    6 Curl Ups
    6 Lying Russian Twists
    Carry On By Doing
    4 Lying Leg Raises
    4 Curl Ups
    4 Lying Russian Twists
    And Finally
    2 Lying Leg Raises
    2 Curl Ups
    2 Lying Russian Twists

    How To Do The Exercises
    Lying Leg Raises (These work the mid to lower part of the abdomen)
    Start by lying on your back. Allow only your toes (and not your heels) to be in contact with the ground.Bend your knees to 90 degrees whilst keeping your back in contact with the floor/ground. Whilst lying on your back, raise your legs up toward your chest.At the top of the leg raise, thrust your hips upward, taking them off the ground. Slowly return to the starting position.

    Curl Ups (These work the upper to middle part of the abdomen)
    Start by lying on your back.Feet flat on the ground, knees bent at a 90 degree angle. In curl ups, the hands are placed on top of the thighs (quads) and must be kept in contact with the thighs as they slide up to touch the top of the kneecaps with the the top part of the wrist/bottom part of the palm.Feet must be kept in contact with the ground or the rep doesn't count. If the hands lose contact with the thighs - the rep doesn't count. Try not to use momentum to initiate the movement. Stop at the bottom of each rep and take a deep breath before doing the next rep, to keep your reps honest and not have them influenced too much by fatigue.If these are too hard, try to touch the top of your kneecaps with your fingertips(or as far as you can reach).

    Lying Russian Twists (These work the back and sides of the abdomen)
    Start by lying on your back. Place your arms extended out towards the sides (palms up). The start position is the same as for Lying Leg Raises. Do a Lying Leg Raise - but without the hip thrust. With your knees bent at roughly a 90 degree angle (raised above you), roll your torso and both knees towards your left side. Try not to allow your knees, side of your thighs or feet to come into contact with the ground at any time during the movement. As you are rolling, remove your arms from off the ground so that you are only supporting yourself through the power of your torso muscles.Try to keep your head facing straight upward. Just before your knees touch the ground, try to return to the middle of the movement by reversing the rolling movement towards the right. Repeat on the right side. This constitutes one repetition. If you start to get tired - take a break at the end of each repetition, take a few breaths and continue.

    The above mentioned ab circuit is good for blasting your abs and getting a 6 pack. If you want a strong, functional core - then doing heavy squats, deadlifts and basic compound exercises without a weight belt will do the bizz.
  21. DC

    DC Guest

    ignore the leg raises.. they are ****, unless you have 100% perfect form your not going to get anything out of them because they will target your hip flexors.. and most people cannot simply start out doing leg raises with perfect form.

    i reccomend for lower abs do reverse crunches which are putting your legs at 90 degrees, and crunch your pelvis toward your rib cage and go back down. (look them up online if this doesnt give you a good idea as to how they are performed)

    i havent seen anyone mention it yet, but how about incline bench press, killer for your shoulders and pecs.. excellent excersize!
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