Outlined is a session that has worked wonders at club training. Rugby is a game of creativity and imagination and sometimes these traits are needed when designing a training programme or session plan to keep things fun, different and engaging.
If you are a club who has the luxury of having access to a fully equipped gym then that’s great, but at grassroots level, this is not always the case.
So how can we ensure our players are still able to train the fundamentals needed to perform at their best?
The below circuit requires just a pitch and a partner and thus can be used at any training session at any club. Players use the bodyweight of their partner to act as the load during exercises. An added bonus is it’s very game related. Come game time we are not competing against barbells or dumbbells in fixed movements but against each other, each others bodyweight and each others varying strength levels. We are fending off opponents, tackling (all shapes and sizes), wrestling, lifting, driving and pulling. It’s extremely important that we have the ability to control our own bodyweight – without this, we will be unable to perform and more prone to injury.
These ‘buddy assisted’ exercises mimic certain actions and situations you find yourself in a game and help develop functional strength, power, endurance, and conditioning. Also, working with a partner in a group situation brings that competitive element and is great for team camaraderie.
Overall it is a great alternative to the conventional barbell approach.
Give it a go and throw it into your training to mix things up.
Perform following exercises as a circuit working for 2 minutes at each station (1 minute per partner) and then take a 30 second transition to the next station. Time depending, shoot for 2 total circuits.
1) Piggy Back Squats – Player performs squats with a partner on their back in a ‘piggy back’ fashion. Choose your partner wisely...I wouldn’t recommend a winger linking up with your club’s biggest prop!
2) Plank & Push Up - 1 player holds a plank position whilst their partner performs decline push ups with shins resting on the back of the player in plank.
3) Wheelbarrow Walks - This old school exercise never loses its effectiveness. Your arms will feel like lead after this one! Partners take it in turns – 1 doing the hand walks and 1 holding their feet. Shoot for 20 meters there and back, and then swap.
4) Fireman’s lift – Similar to the above, simple and effective. Again take it in turns – 20 meters there and back and then swap. Yet again, be sure to ‘size up’ on this one!
5) Back to Back Wall Sit – Partners position back to back and go down into squat position simultaneously and hold it for the desired time. Who will give in first? Don’t let your team mate down...fight the pain!
6) Buddy Assisted Shoulder Press – 1 player sits on the floor, legs outstretched in front, his back supported on the legs of his partner who will be stood directly behind him. Sat player performs overhead shoulder presses that will be resisted by standing player.
7) Buddy Assisted Inverted Row – 1 player lies on his back whilst his partner stands over him with a wide stance positioned around stomach level. Both player’s then lock hands and the player on the floor attempts to pull up his bodyweight between partners legs.
8) Buddy Assisted Leg Press – 1 player lies flat on his back with legs raised to 60 degrees. Standing partner leans forwards and rests his chest on the soles of lying player’s feet and uses his hands for support and balance. Player then performs leg presses using partner’s bodyweight as the load.
9) Partner Bull Dogs – 1 player sets up in the bulldog position – brace position on hands and feet, knees under hips and held a couple of inches off the ground. Whilst holding this strong position, your partner will push and pull to challenge them to stabilise in every direction.
10) Shuttle runs – Back to basics, players take it in turns to complete a shuttle run – out to the 10 meter line, down and up, back to the start and then back out to the 20 meter mark, down and up and finish back at the start – next player goes.