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Cross-training in rugby: A review of research and practical suggestions

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Abstract:

Cross-training is a relatively recent training method which suggests that perfomance enhancement or maintenance may be obtained through the practice of non-sport specific activities. However, and despite the recent importance given to cross-training among rugby union clubs, related scientific investigation is scarce. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to present a rationale for the implementation of cross-training activities in rugby union. Initially, a review of the literature on rugby players' physical characteristics and game demands is presented, taking into account different playing positions. Secondly, several skills and sports are suggested based on the following criteria: i) skill-crossover to rugby union game; ii) cross-training activities that elite rugby union teams (e.g. Six Nations and Super Rugby 15) are currently using; and iii) tasks and techniques that are expected to provide the most substantial results to improve rugby players' skills and performance. Coaches are encouraged to include these activities on their rugby training programs, according to the different season periods and characteristics of the players. Moreover, researchers are encouraged to investigate the cross-training effects of these skills and sports on rugby athletes' and team performance, as well as identifying the most effective activities.

Keywords: CROSS-TRAINING; PERFORMANCE; RUGBY; SKILLS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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