Rugby union, better known as rugby, is one of the most popular contact sports in the entire world. This game that originated back in the early 19th century England quickly spread across the globe, mainly in the sphere of influence of the former British Empire. In the second half of the 20th century, it began to be played in other countries and soon reached almost every nation in the world. Today, this team sport is so widespread that it placed in the same category as things like football or basketball while many rugby athletes are well-known planetary superstars.
But, although this sport is now more than 3 centuries old, this does not mean that it is in a state of stagnation. In fact, rugby union is constantly changing, both on the field and off it, where many experts and fitness coaches are engaged in the process of improving the game, as well as those athletes that are playing it and their overall health. Because of this, rugby managed to produce substantial changes in the last couple of years, especially in the field of fitness levels of its players.
Generally speaking, the physical preparedness of an average rugby athlete increased dramatically in recent times. In this area, the sport has made big leaps when it comes to things like nutrition and fitness, even more since bigger amounts of money became available for researching the new technologies in this field. Today, those who desire to play rugby at a level of professional players must meet several important physical traits and abilities.
First one is the sheer muscle endurance which is needed for all those who plan to last the full 80 minutes or the duration of the entire match. At the same time, they are required to possess explosive potential which will allow them to burst into a full sprint when needed. Without this, players will experience the onset of muscle fatigue, which will make them less useful for the team as a match progresses. At the current level of competition, no team can afford to have players like this. That is why strength and power are now seen as the key elements in the fitness level of a rugby athlete. These will help with the absorption of direct collisions, which are often seen in the game, but also must balance out the need for mobility and dexterity.
A few decades ago, it was enough to have a large and muscular body to be a successful rugby player. Now, the same players need to combine sturdiness and strength with agility and speed. Naturally, the necessity for the overall health levels of any athlete remains the primary concern for any fitness coach, which is the reason why all these characteristics are developed gradually in training. In the meantime, the athletes that compete at the highest level enter a very advanced regime of recuperation and rest, which allow their bodies to repair the damage sustained by the exercise and build upon it.
In this area, high-tech solutions are used, including hypobaric chambers, specialized cold water baths, latest nutritional programs and many more things that can provide a rugby player with all the advantages of the modern medicine and physiotherapy. Using this combination of high-intensity trainings and cutting-edge treatments, today’s rugby players are entering the game on a fitness level that was almost unimaginable just a decade ago.