Physical fitness for Rugby

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In the sport of rugby union many components of physical fitness are required in order to perform at the highest level. In this document I will talk about what these components are and what they are so important. Cardiovascular Endurance Cardiovascular endurance is arguably the main component of fitness needed in the sport of rugby union. Cardiovascular endurance is basically another word for stamina, which means your body’s endurance of strength and energy.

Good cardiovascular endurance means that your heart is in good shape, which means that it can therefore more effectively supply your muscles with oxygen-rich blood. The better your heart is functioning the less quickly you’ll find yourself in oxygen debt when in a rugby union game therefore meaning that you will be able to perform at the highest level for a longer period of time (i.e. it will delay the onset of fatigue). Good cardiovascular endurance is therefore very important to have in the sport of rugby union especially since most players will cover anywhere between 4000m and 6000m in one match so they will need it to keep going for the full 80-minute match.

To test this the Multistage Fitness Test could be used. Agility Agility is just as important in rugby union as any other component of physical fitness. Agility can be defined simply as the ability to stop, start, and change the direction of the body or body parts explosively and in a controlled manner. It is important in most sports that involve moving around a court/pitch such as the sport of rugby union. Agility is important in many aspects in the game of rugby union such as for sudden bursts of pace, quick acceleration for whatever reason, quick changes of direction in order to get past your opponent and also to quickly change direction when your opponent is running at you.

To test this the Illinois Agility Run could be used. Speed/Pace I feel that speed/pace is one of the more important aspects of the game of rugby union with some positions requiring it more than others. The position I play (centre) needs speed or pace in abundance as my position provides one of the main attacking threats against the opposition. Speed or pace can be defined simply as the rate of movement and it is important in nearly every sport, either in moving around or in terms of moving part of the body with rugby union being no exception. Some examples are to get past and outpace your opponent when attacking, to keep up with your opponent when they are attacking and also just simply to keep up with the speed of play in a fast paced game.

To test this the 30-metre sprint could be used. Reaction Time Reaction time can be defined simply as the time it takes for a person to respond to a stimuli. Reaction time is important in the sport of rugby union because it is needed to respond quickly in certain situations or tactical moves, for example if your team-mate or an opposition player switches a phase of play or adopts a specific tactical move on the attack your reaction must be quick enough to obtain the right position and do the right things in order to either join the attack or halt it. To test this the Stick Drop Test could be used.

Strength can be described as physical energy or intensity and is integral in the sport of rugby union for several reasons. Some examples are for making strong tackles, the ability to brush off and withstand tackles from the opposition and also in scrummages, rucks and mauls. It is one of the most important components of physical fitness in the sport of rugby union for these reasons. To test this the grip dynamometer test could be used. Balance Balance can be defined simply as the ability to stay in a state of equilibrium. Good balance is needed in the sport of rugby union again for many reasons some of these being things such as staying on your feet after being tackled, staying on your feet when your opponent has gone past you after say a sidestep and also for you to stay on your feet after you have performed a sidestep.

To test this the static balance test could be used. Flexibility Flexibility can be defined simply as the range of movement in a joint and good flexibility is useful in the game of rugby union to perform such skills as dodging tackles and dodging your opponents. To test this the sit and reach test could be used. Hand-eye Co-ordination Hand-eye coordination can be defined as the ability of the vision system to coordinate the information received through the eyes to control, guide, and direct a the hands in the accomplishment of a given task.

This is needed in rugby for the effectiveness in simply throwing and catching the rugby ball. It is also needed in certain complex skills such as catching the high ball. To test this the ball juggle test could be used. Muscular Endurance Muscular endurance can be defined simply as the ability of the muscles to repeatedly exert themselves. This is important in the sport of rugby union to continually be able to tackle your opponents and continually perform to your potential whether in a scrum or in the overall match. To test this the sit-up test could be used.

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