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Rugby fitness training - Sprint training

To develop your speed you need to be performing sprint training. However, there are different components to speed and thus the way to focus your training.

Speed in its simplest terms is the time it takes to cover a distance. It is a product of stride length and stride frequency. The winner over a certain distance is deemed the fastest e.g. the winner of Olympic 100m final is deemed the fastest man/women in the world.

In rugby, as in other sports, speed is found to be more complex than first appears being made up of three different components:


The time it takes to go from a standing or slow speed to maximum or higher speed. It takes between 20 - 50m to reach top speed, with elite Olympic sprinters attaining maximum speed at around 50m while novices needing just 20m. The ability to accelerate is heavily influenced by leg strength.

Maximum speed

The maximum velocity (speed) that can be achieved. The maximum top speed displayed by an athlete is dependent upon neuromuscular co-ordination and the legs fast speed strength.

Speed endurance

The ability to maintain maximum speed or the ability to repeatedly perform successive sprints at the same speed. Speed endurance is dependent upon the metabolic conditioning of the anaerobic fast and medium systems


The ability to move a body part at the highest possible velocity. . In rugby quickness is important for passing and kicking the ball or in throwing a fake directional move e.g. side-step. It is closely related to the bodies neuromuscular co-ordination and speed strength.

Sprinting technique.

underpinning your speed is your technique. This can be developed using certain drills and also restoring ideal posture through static stretching and teaching the body optimal co-ordination.

Different training for different abilities.

There is no one technique that will produce dramatic improvements in each facet of speed. Instead the athlete needs to address all qualities to allow him to be seen as 'fast' across the pitch and for the whole duration of the game.

The different methods involve targeting distance between 20 - 400m in length with varying rest periods and number of reps. The key to when and how to use each one is dependent upon the law of periodization.

Combining the techniques

Sprint 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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