Prepare your body for rugby: supplements to boost strength and recovery

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Prepare your body for rugby: supplements to boost strength and recovery

Whatever your level, rugby is an intense impact sport that demands physical fitness … right?  If you’re looking for a helping hand to get you fitter and stronger for the season ahead, then there are certain health supplements, vitamins and minerals that could help to strengthen bones, build muscle, prevent injury, and aid recovery.

From lowering the risk of injury to improving energy levels, certain nutrients can significantly help you get a better workout. Nutrition is not something to underestimate — check out which nutritional supplements you should be taking to enhance your technique in rugby…


Your bones and joints are easily damaged in rugby, so the key is to strengthen them. The human skeleton is made up of 206 bones, with over 200 connecting joints too, and exercise can place enormous stress on our bodies. Therefore, it’s important to consider the nutrients that can fortify them — particularly if you’re building muscle.

Magnesium is the perfect nutrient to ingest when you’re looking to build muscle — just make sure to get the hydroxide acetate and carbonate forms of magnesium, as they can be best absorbed by your body to help you lift and press greater weights more quickly.

Omega 3

High sources of omega 3 is found in foods like oily fish, however, taking an omega 3 nutrient is an easy way to get this nutrient into your body. The best thing about omega 3 is that it safeguards you from injury and increases your rates of recovery. When you’re lifting heavy weights, your tissues can become inflamed and painful. Ingesting an omega 3 supplement can both prevent and alleviate strain injuries by keeping your joints and tissues well lubricated and reducing any inflammation. Another benefit of omega 3 is that it can boost your body’s energy supply for a longer, harder and more effective session. Daily supplementation with a high-quality fish oil, such as Bio-Fish Oil, is recommended for most athletes.

Vitamin D

Calcium is one of the best nutrients for good bone health, but did you know that your body can actually start drawing calcium out of your bones if you aren’t getting enough vitamin D? Weak bones are dangerous, particularly if playing a high-impact sport like rugby.

Did you know that vitamin D3 can help? If you’re building muscle at the gym, give yourself a hand and speed up the process by taking this nutrient every day. Research has also shown that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with muscle weakness and up to 50% of adults in the UK are thought to be deficient in it due to lack of sun.

MSM and silica

Pulled and strained muscles are no way to start a match. To protect them and prevent an injury that could see you out of action for weeks, your body needs MSM and silica. MSM is a naturally occurring sulphur found in fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, while silica is plant-based and found in foods like unrefined cereals and rice. However, the easiest way to get these into your body is via supplements, as these nutrients are readily lost from foods during food processing.

It’s near impossible to avoid an injury in rugby, so help your nerves and joints recover with MSM and silica. According to a study carried out by the UCLA School of Medicine, 58% of athletes taking MSM for an injury reported a recovery compared to only 33% from a placebo group.

Vitamin C

A built, toned body is beneficial when playing a sport like rugby. A muscle-boosting antioxidant, vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy connective tissue across the body’s cartilage and tendons. If you’ve ever damaged these, you’ll know how long you have to rest before you can pick you your fitness regime again.

You can even reduce the amount of cortisol in your body, too. If you didn’t already know, cortisol is a rugby players nightmare, as it:

  • Reduces muscle recovery post work-out.
  • Meddles with the transportation of nutrients to muscles.
  • Breaks down muscle to use for energy.
  • Boosts the storing of fat around the abdomen.

Vitamin C will help you recover from strained muscles at a quicker rate to help you get back on the training ground faster.


Every player wants to have the energy to complete a full match. If you can feel yourself flagging before the end, maybe you need to consider taking iron supplements. This nutrient is responsible for transporting oxygen to your cells and removing carbon dioxide, so how well you recover between sets relies on how efficient your aerobics system is. Taking iron supplements is also an effective way of avoiding the development of ‘sports anaemia’ — which is a condition that causes fatigue during training. So, packing a dose of iron into your diet will help energise your work-out and prevent you from becoming exhausted mid-session.

Coenzyme Q10

Want to boost your energy levels even more to really push yourself at your next rugby training session? Every cell in the human body needs a vitamin-like substance called coenzyme Q10 to produce energy. Some can be found in food but most is produced naturally by us. However, the challenge is that our natural Q10 levels decline from our mid-twenties onwards. If you’re into resistance training, this means that a coenzyme Q10 deficiency can leave your muscles feeling tired and weak, increasing your chances of injury. Taking a Q10 supplement offers the potential to boost your energy levels and push you to the next level of your work-out regime.

Vitamin E

Getting blood to your muscles when you need to exert yourself is essential to playing a good game of rugby. To help, try vitamin E. This nutrient helps blood flow around the body, delivering red blood cells where they’re needed to help you with each muscle contraction. If you take vitamin E, you give your body a better chance to recover from tissue damage — this nutrient is also commonly used by medical professionals to help people with arthritis and cramp. Also, vitamin E is an antioxidant, which means it boosts muscle mass by reducing the amount of harmful free radicals in your system that tampers with tissue growth.


Prepare your body for next season’s training and matches with these top supplements for rugby players.


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