Physical conditioning

Training exercises

There are an unlimited number of exercises that can be done while training. Below are some of the most common methods that have proven beneficial to Wheelchair Rugby athletes.

Aerobic activities

Aerobics are often a favorite part of an athlete’s training routine because they don’t always take place in a Rugby chair, and many can be done in a social environment. Some of the activities that can be done include pushing a racing chair, swimming, hand-cycling, rowing, and participating in other sports. Each of these activities will provide useful benefits for Wheelchair Rugby, and by rotating them through your weekly routine you can keep your training fresh and exciting.

Weight training

Lifting weights helps develop strength, tone, and muscle endurance, which enhances the ability to do repetitive tasks with much less muscle fatigue. You don’t need elaborate gym equipment to lift, as most weights and equipment can be easily adapted to provide athletes at every level with a complete workout. Incorporating the use of resistance bands, wrist weights and medicine balls into your weight program are also beneficial.

Before lifting, always warm up for 3-5 minutes by engaging in arm circles, shoulder shrugs, or some other type of light cardiovascular movement. After warming up, stretch the chief muscle groups in the neck, chest, back, shoulders and arms. Depending on what phase you are in with your training will establish how much weight you should be using and how many sets and reps you should be doing. It is essential that to consult with a certified trainer before beginning any weight training program.

Pushing

The objective of pushing is to push harder than you normally do during the rest of the week, and to focus on endurance, maneuverability and speed. Pushing can take place indoors or out, and should be done in your rugby chair. The pushing workout should include exercises that simulate motions common in Wheelchair Rugby such as backing up, speed sprints, and starting and stopping the Rugby chair as quickly as possible. Equally important is focusing on the technique in which you push the chair so that the most efficient method is used during play.

A variety of options can be added to your regular pushing routine depending on needs. As an example, pushing hills or parking structures can help build muscle and strength, which will benefit your game. For those with shoulder problems, adding weights to your rugby chair or pulling a sand bag in the gym may be a better option. Adding a modified

Fartlek workout

to your plan will help build endurance and can teach you how to manage energy during competition. The Fartlek workout helps condition your mind as well as the body.

Game skills

Each training session in the gym should have a specific objective of the game on which to focus such as basic fundamentals, defense, offense, or areas that needs refinement. Once the focus is chosen, plan your practice around that theme. For example, if you are working on offense breaking the key, then have passing drills that simulate the passes you would make when playing against a key defense.

Practicing game skills will be more effective when several other players can participate, and scrimmage sessions can be run. During scrimmage, you can revert back to the previous drills practiced to correct any behaviors that lead to unsuccessful execution.