Traditional rugby training methods typically focus on the development of speed along with the muscular endurance necessary to compete in a match lasting 80 minutes and involving an incredibly wide range of athletic demands. Clearly, this focus on developing speed and muscular endurance remains of critical importance for peak athletic performance, yet it also obscures the need for an added focus on muscular strength and explosive power.
A rugby match might include as much as four miles worth of total running — often maximal-effort sprinting –- and certainly places significant demands on an athlete’s capacity for endurance. The intuitive approach would therefore favor training for muscular endurance and sprint speed development while including a complementary focus on strength development.
While there is some sound logic in this methodology, many recent studies suggest that the inclusion of explosive powerlifting movements as part of a strength training program improves overall muscular strength as well as top-end sprint speed and muscular endurance. Rugby training programs that incorporate a greater focus on powerlifting are therefore likely to yield much better results that are highly beneficial in every aspect of one of the most demanding sports in the world of competitive athletics.