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Rugby fitness training - Aerobic endurance

The purpose of aerobic endurance training is to increase your aerobic fitness to improve your on field performance. Aerobic fitness is made up from two main components.

Aerobic Power

Aerobic power is the ability to produce the maximum amount of energy using oxygen from the air. It is critical for effective performance as it supplies the majority of energy production at certain points of a game and is crucial in the recovery processes from anaerobic periods of play.

Lactate tolerance.

Lactic acid is the by-product of the chemical reactions performed during intense exercise. the build up of lactic acid interferes and impairs the muscles ability to contract. Lactate tolerance is the ability to continue exercising despite the prescience of lactic acid in the muscles. Lactic acid interference is the the main fatiguing factor for most team sports.

Training techniques

For a rugby player it is prudent to focus your aerobic training exclusively to jogging unless injury prevents this. The focus of the training is to develop the aerobic power and lactate tolerance of the muscles.

The purpose of aerobic endurance training is to increase the athletes aerobic power and his lactate tolerance. This increases the amount of energy produced by the aerobic slow system and adapts the body so that it can continue to exercise despite the presence of lactic acid.

The aerobic training employs four main methods to target your fitness. These are:

Steady Pace

The mos common way you would perform aerobic training. The aim of the technique is to maintain the same speed for the entire duration of the run. Most people do this then dramatically increase the speed at the end of the run. It is an effective method for developing basic levels of aerobic power but in general the least effective and most people do this incorrectly.

Interval training

Interval training refers to performing fast jogging for a set period of time followed by a period of lower intensity then a return to the fast jogging. This process is repeated as required. The lower intensity intervals can be either jogging at a slower speed (recovery) or stopping the exercise (rest).

It is a powerful method for developing aerobic power and enhancing lactate tolerance.

Special Endurance

These routines are designed specifically to mimic the demands encountered in your actual matches on a saturday. It uses a combination of movement speeds and movement types arranged in an order that reflects the exercise work-relief ratio encountered in a game.

The training has the athlete either standing still, gentle jogging, cruising (sprinting but not at full speed) and full out sprints. In addition to this the athlete performs lateral running and high intensity static exercise to mimic engaging in the rucks and mauls. A powerful method to develop the specific demands of a game.

Combining the techniques

When and how to combine these different techniques depends upon the laws of periodization. Aerobic training is just one of the different training areas any serious rugby player should focus upon.

The mains areas to focus upon are agility, sprint training, plyometrics, resistance training, aerobic fitness, core and flexibility. The combination of these based upon your specific needs will produce dramatic results.

To optimize the benefits from training any conditioning routine must be backed up by nutrition. The most effective sports nutrition system in the world is metabolic typing. It is used by many professional teams. It is based on discovering your unique nutritional needs.

The final aspect of performance is ensuring the mind is tuned for success. This can be done by using Emotional freedom technique (EFT). A powerful psychological method.


Ben Wilson

Author Rugby

Fitness training.



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