10 November 2020
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As we are in uncertain times and with multiple instances of gyms closing, reopening, and closing again, many of us have had to improvise with regards to our health and fitness goals.

The sporting season for most seasons has been cut short, however athletes have had to stay fit and ready in order to compete in their sport as soon as they are able to.

What kind of training do these individuals need to do, in order to stay fit and ready for the sporting season? 

The underlying factor for any athlete to stay ready, fitness-wise, is usually how bad they want to play and how bad they want to excel in their chosen sport.

Let’s start with specificity: what does this mean, exactly? What specific physical characteristics do you need to train, and what is the nature of the sport? Are there aspects you can train with minimal equipment and the use of the outdoors?

For the sake of this newsletter, let’s use rugby as an example. It’s a Winter sport which requires the use of a field, and it provides markings for conditioning-based drills.

Rugby has different needs, conditioning-wise, depending on the player’s position.

Some positions require shorter sharper repeated efforts, done over 80 minutes, and others require longer distances.


The measurements of a rugby field provide a great tool not only for athletes needing to get fit for the season during lockdown, but also for anyone looking to stay fit.


The basic measurements are: 0 (try line), 22 metre line, 40 metre line (also known as the close 10 metre line), half way (50 metres), 60 metres (also known as the far 10 metre line) and the far try line. The total length is 100 metres, and width is 70 metres.


These dimensions give us an indication of the different drills we can do, and what components of fitness they train us for.


Here’s a quick example drill:

12 x 22 metre sprints, starting on the try line, going every 20 seconds, and aiming to get them done in less than 10 seconds.

So if you achieve one sprint in 8 seconds, you have 12 seconds rest before the next sprint. Repeat this 12 times. This is a total of 4 minutes and increases the capacity to repeat these intense, short duration sprints over many repetitions. The key here is to aim for minimal drop-off between reps and to maintain the intensity as best as you can.


REST 2 minutes

This allows for your heart rate to somewhat normalize and for your energy stores to regenerate before the next bout of sprints.


10 x 40 metre sprints, goal is 20 seconds, going every 30 seconds.


REST 2 minutes

10 x 100 metre sprints, goal is 30 seconds, going every minute.


As you can see, this sample session uses different distances, which will train different components of fitness. Due to the volume of the sprints, all energy systems will crossover at some point and get trained equally.


This is effective for improving work capacity and fitness because it allows for a high intensity of work to be repeated with incomplete rest periods, to work the cardiovascular component as well.


This is something that is great for general fitness and can be done as a pre-season drill to build general work capacity. So next time you’re looking for some fitness drills to do, head down to your local rugby field and give these a go. You can add variation to these by starting on your stomach for each rep.

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