Grassroots Rugby's Guide to Pre-Season: Phase 2

August 8, 2017

With the season fast approaching, you should all now be pretty content with your foundational base strength and endurance levels, which you have been hard at work on.

The strength-training workout outlined in Phase 1 should have provided the perfect platform for the next vital requirement. With only weeks remaining, it’s imperative that we now shift emphasis and focus and prioritise the physical elements of speed and power – attempting to replicate match conditions as much as possible in readiness for that season opener.

Similarly, it’s also now important that we are exchanging the endurance energy system type activities, such as fartlek training, into more game related, high intensity efforts – again trying to bring as many similarities to a match as possible. Therefore you'll incorporate short bursts, change of direction and down and ups.

Your training week will now consist of 3 sessions per week:

-        Gym based upper body power

-        Gym based lower body speed and power

-        High intensity efforts and skills

Of course at this stage of pre season a big focus at club training will consist of technical elements, and learning and fine-tuning set plays and systems. So, if time is a restriction, it’s incredibly important that as a coach you are urging your players to adhere to the following workouts in their own time, should you want them to be as successful as possible.

Phase 2 Programme

Upper Body Power

  • A1 Bench Press (3 SETS X 6 REPS)
  • A2 Clap Push Ups (3 SETS X 10 REPS)
  • B1 DB Single Arm Row (3 SETS X 6 REPS)
  • B2 Med Ball Overhead Toss (3 SETS X 10 REPS)
  • C1 Weighted Push Ups (3 SETS X 6 REPS)
  • C2 Weighted Chin Ups (3 SETS X 6 REPS)
  • C3 Suitcase Deadlift (3 SETS X 4 REPS)

Lower Body Speed & Power

  • A1 Barbell Hip Thrust (3 SETS X 6 REPS)
  • A2 Kettlebell Swing (3 SETS X 10 REPS)
  • A3 Long Jump (walk back) (3 SETS X 3 REPS)
  • B1 Back Squat (3 SETS X 6 REPS)
  • B2 20m Sprint (3 SETS)
  • C1 Weighted Step Ups (3 SETS X 6 REPS)
  • C2 Box Jump (3 SETS X 3 REPS)

Repeated High Intensity Efforts

‘The Scotland Anaerobic Drill’

Perform the following:  

Down and up on the goal line | sprint to the five-meter line | down and up | sprint to goal line |down and up | sprint to the 22-meter line around a cone and back to goal line.

Go every 30 seconds. The whole of your body must be behind each line. Do four reps then a one-minute break for four sets.

Important note: Add skill development to the start when fresh but also post drill to improve skills and decision making whilst under fatigue.

On a final note, just to reiterate what I spoke about in Phase 1, what you do in pre season and how well you do it will play a massive role within your season. Preparation determines success.  That first game is now just around the corner, so it’s time to up the intensity and work hard, both at club training sessions and in your own time. It’s what you do in the dark that will allow you to shine in the light. 


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