Get strong for next season

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Strength and conditioning tips for next season

There are more tips in my writting then my video, so please watch but also read. Enjoy.

Get a strength coach
Having a good strength coach or trainer look at you and your needs could be the best thing you ever do. A great strength coach will see where you are imbalanced and need work. They can also set you up with a proper strength program. Yes it might cost you money but getting injured will cost you more money and cost you something you can’t back… Time
Time is valuable to me because you can’t get it back. A good strength coach will save you a lot of time and money in the end because you will get faster results and will get to know your own body better than ever. Save your time and see a strength coach, you will actually save money and improve results.

IF that’s not an option here are some great tips

Build the foundations

Before you think about going and doing all your jumping drills, ballistic training, plyometric training or banded squats, bench presses and anything else cool you’ve seen on instagram. You will need to build a strong foundation. A strong foundation will make you structurally sound. It will make those fun explosive exercises 3 times more effective.
This means that you will have;
• Fixed muscle imbalances
• Fixed technique problems
• Achieved full range of motion in joints for technique
• Mastered your compound lifts with great technique
If you do these things it is going to make your power phases of programming incredible because you will have taught your nervous system which muscles need to be recruited when doing exercises. When you are lifting heavy your body will be able to signal to the muscles to recruit more muscle fiber and you will be stronger and more resilient to injury. This also has a kick on effect to your conditioning. If you have learnt how to recruit more muscle fiber you will run effectively and land effectively. Your mobility will be improved and it has been shown that if the hips are mobile you will be able to generate more force through your legs.

Focus on fixing muscle imbalances
Firstly rugby player’s most common injuries are hamstrings, knee, shoulder and concussion. We can help your performance and make sure you stay on the park by working on the muscles that will help prevent these injuries.
Hamstrings – Make sure you train flexion of the knee and extension of the hip. An example would be the hamstring curl for knee flexion and Dead lift for hip extension. That will help reduce hamstring injuries and knee injuries.
Shoulder injuries – Try and make your behind head press is 2/3 of your close grip bench roughly. If you cant behind head shoulder press, mobility work would be great to help keep your shoulders healthy. Use accessory exercises to help build internal and external rotation of the shoulder.
Concussions – Properly training neck has been to shown reduce risk of concussion. Add neck work in with your upper body days EG a neck plank

Have those basics covered and you’re already on your way to having a better season

Compound movements
Most people will tell you that they’re always busy and it’s always a competition to see who the busiest person is!
When I program I will always make sure I get the most out of some ones time in the gym so I always use a lot of compound movements.
Using compound movements helps boost testosterone and growth hormone.
Here are some of the most bang for your buck exercises.

• Deadlift
• Chin up
• Front squat
• Nordic curl (technically an isolation)
• Military press

Now lets make the most out of your time because people make the mistake of training like a body builder or a power lifter and rugby is neither of those things

Upper body day
A1 Supinated chin up 4 sets 8-10 reps tempo 60s rest
A2 Standing DB military press 4 sets 8-10 reps tempo 60s rest
B1 Cable external rotation 3 sets 10-12 reps 60 seconds rest
B2 Cable face pull 3 sets 10-12 reps 60 seconds rest

Now instead of just doing one exercise and resting one minute and doing it again, we are doing one exercise A1, resting one minute and doing the opposite muscle group A2 and then resting a minute and going back to the first exercise A1.
When you train this way you are optimizing your time in the gym because the muscles you used for A1 are now getting two minutes rest instead of one minute and the same as A2. This will help because you be able to lift heavier and recruit more muscle fibre on each of those lifts.

Just implanting those things will not only help you with time management and get great results. Lets get into some other key points to help you get great results for rugby. Lots of these key points could be long articles themselves so Ill keep it short!

• Most of the time use a full range of motion to recruit as much muscle fibre as possible
• When you are knew to working out or a new exercises keep the speed of the rep otherwise known as tempo slow and feel the muscle working
• Perfect reps for perfect results. If your form turns bad the set is over.
• learn to have full control over your repititions, if you train poor movement patterns that will transfered over to how you play rugby.

• Get a program or stick to a program that works for you because without this, how can you ensure you get the results you want?
• A program will on average work for 4-6 workouts
• Periodise your program, 4-6 workouts work on size, then work on strength and then power to keep it simple.
• The best program is the one you will actualy stick to!
• Focus – you can’t do everything at once! If you’re focusing on putting on size, then focus on that, If you’re focusing on strength, then focus on that, don’t go and be doing all this extra conditioning and waste your time.
• Your workout should be roughly 45 minutes to an hour if you’re working out longer than that, you are either on your phone too much or talking too much.

• Just like in the programming before focus on one thing, if that one thing is size that will help you most play rugby better. You don’t need to be doing conditioning because that would slow your results.
• Strong man training – I love strong man training, I’m sure you would’ve seen it or done some of it. Keep an eye out for my conditioning article and why strong man training works well.
• HIIT – High intensity interval training is a great way to build fitness fast. It helps with the body’s ability to create and use energy.
• Sprints – short sharp sprints 10-40m 2-3 min rest intervals.

These are just some of the things I would do to get conditioned. I believe many people use too much time trying to build a big aerobic fitness base and are actually wasting their time in which they could be focusing on things that would bring better results.
More on conditioning in another article.

These are just some of the tools that can save you a lot of precious time and increase your results. Time being our most precious resource. Please do yourself a favour find a good strength coach and learn about your body, follow programs and get strong for next season. If you want help achieving strength, power and speed for rugby next season you can also get in contact with me via Facebook Rugby Development Coach or