How varied should rugby pre-season training be from in-season?

Pre-season training for rugby should focus on building a good aerobic base to help with the demands of a long season, while preparing your body for high intensity, short anaerobic plays.  To do this, you must start with some aerobic base building at a low intensity, with the least amount of impact on the joints as possible.  The next step is to increase your anaerobic threshold and start to tap into the anaerobic system.  Doing intervals for one to two minutes will help build this cardiovascular strength.  Once you have increased your work capacity and anaerobic system, you need to start doing linear sprint drills.  Next, take the linear drills into more multi-directional drills.  These drill should cover the same distances as the linear runs, but are now done in cone drills to promote acceleration, deceleration, and change of direction to simulate rugby.  The last phase of training is to do position drills as conditioning. These drills need to be simple at first because the goal is to tap into the top anaerobic demands you need in a game.  If the drills are too complex, the conditioning will be ineffective.

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