Power allows us to be explosive off the mark, change direction sharply, break through the defence, palm off defenders and a whole lot more.
So it’s clear that when it comes to rugby speed, power plays an absolutely crucial role.
No power = No speed. And who wants zero speed?
I want to share with you 4 common mistakes that you could be making which is preventing you from becoming the explosively fast rugby player that you want to be.
1. MISSING MUSCLES
Maximum power for speed comes when the hip, knee, and ankle work together (triple extension) producing maximum force into the ground and propelling your body forward explosively.
The most productive (and easiest!) way to train explosive power is through broad jumps, but if you want to train effectively, you must be training the action of your hip, knee, and ankle working together. The best way to do this is to extend your hips forward during the jump. You need to ensure that you are training your glutes, hamstrings, and quads equally to develop maximum power – these are your powerhouse muscles for speed development.
2. IGNORING MUSCLE IMBALANCES
Muscle imbalance is when equivalent muscles are not of equal strength, resulting in a lack of balance. An example is if your right leg is stronger than your left leg, therefore favouring that side of your body. In rugby, this can cause issues when you get bumped in a tackle or ankle tapped, as the first thing that will happen is you lose is your balance.
Depending on how bad your muscle imbalances are, you could be losing seconds to your speed. Mere seconds can be the difference enabling you to break away from the defence, or being caught every time. I know what you’d rather!
Muscle length and strength between opposing muscles need to be in balance for normal movement and function. This is true for your whole body – for example, your right and left bicep, and quadriceps. If not, muscle imbalances cause limited mobility and being unbalanced – two things that dramatically affect power output.
You can correct muscle imbalances by stretching, and in your leg muscles, by performing single-leg strength exercises. Also, ensure that you perform exercises with correct form to avoid muscle imbalances. I have a whole library of short YouTube tutorials for a wide variety of speed drills which ensures technique is accurate.
3. SKIPPING BASIC TRAINING
Let’s face it basic training can be boring, but it has to be done.
Think of a house with a poor foundation.
What’s going to happen?
The house is going to fall.
This is the same when it comes to rugby speed training. If a rugby player skips basic training, they are missing a vital step in the speed building process. If any weakness does not get addressed, you are limiting your potential to develop strong power.
You need a strong base to work off when it comes to power. Master your bodyweight exercises like single-leg squats and push-ups before adding weight.
4. BUILDING THE WRONG KIND OF STRENGTH
There are different types of strength – relative strength, absolute strength, muscle hypertrophy, and the list goes on.
So many players worry about how much weight they are lifting, rather than how fast they are lifting. This results in an increase in strength, not power.
To develop power, you need to be explosive which means your movements need to be fast.
To be fast, you need to train fast. Work on building the right type of strength and you will be on your way to becoming a faster rugby player.
As the Prime Minister has said many many times now, we are in this new way of life for the long haul. Meaning that gyms and club training, unfortunately, won't be kicking off again for at least a few more months.
The longer you are out of training, the harder it will be to get back to game speed, and power is one of those skills that you lose quite quickly when you stop training.
Don’t be that player that is slow off the mark and left looking like a fool when attackers dart right past you to leave you for dead.
If you're serious about being ahead of the competition when the footy season kicks-off you need to check out my online speed programs that serious players are doing right now. Minimal or no equipment required guys, so there is no excuse.