domingo, 4 de diciembre de 2011

Developing Rugby Specific Endurance to go the Distance

I mentioned in a previous article on endurance training for rugby the importance of developing endurance as well as the different energy systems that need to be trained in order to for you to play effectively for 80min. Lets look at the concept of game specific endurance a bit more as along with strength, these two conditioning components form the foundation of your performance capabilities.

To develop complete rugby specific endurance you need to realise that all three energy systems need to be trained and therefore you need to know how to train each one specifically. This means that to get a total rugby specific endurance adaptation you will need to use a variety of training methods and applications.

When you start training as a team it is important to include rugby specific drills as much as possible as a method for developing rugby endurance. Not only will this help eliminate boredom from players just having to do running drills, but it will also have a far better crossover into the game as it will enhance skill development under game specific fatigue conditions which will help improve match day performances.
As a coach or player remember to design the various rugby specific drills so that each energy system is addressed.

Note: It is important that you use drills that are relevant to the skill level of the team that you are working with so the intensity of the drills can be applied correctly to illicit the desired adaptation response you are trying to achieve. If the skill component is too advanced, intensity and correct application may suffer due to mistakes, having to stop and reset drills etc

Use high intensity drills of 5 to 10 seconds to train and develop the alactic system. When you take the training periods and drills up to 30 to 90 seconds you will be training the lactic acid system.
Lactic acid is often misunderstood by players and wrongly given the blame for post training stiffness. Lactic acid is removed from the blood and muscles and returned to normal usually within one hour. Active recovery usually accelerates the clearance process so remember to include a recovery strategy in your training plan. The usual reason for soreness and stiffness in the body after strenuous exercise is not a pooling and retention of lactic acid. Rather, it comes from muscle cell damage caused by the intensity of the performance, a level of intensity that previously has not been experienced, or a modification of style that causes muscle fibres to be used and loaded in an unfamiliar manner.
There will also be a time for incorporating training drills of medium or higher intensity of 2 to 5 minutes, or longer, even up to 10 minutes. This is primarily done in the off-season period to develop and maintain the aerobic needs of the player. A well developed aerobic system is also important to assist with lactic acid removal from the body.

So if you are a coach organise drills and training sessions with the aim of training all 3 energy systems. Often when technical or tactical drills are done they are of a very high intensity but short duration. They are demanding physiologically and psychologically. To avoid fatigue and over-training vary the sessions and workloads so that all the energy systems are developed and maintained.
Use “easy” and “hard” training sessions placed according to your current team load levels and match schedules. If you only ever have high intensity sessions straight into high intensity games you run the risk of staleness and over-training.

The placement and alternating of the training of the different energy systems is very important. For example, use aerobic type, lower intensity, longer duration drills following games and between high intensity days to unload the alactic and lactic acid systems and assist with recovery.

Steve Mac / / conditioning specialist

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