Rugby Strength Show

Rugby Strength Show #15 - Do NOT Rush Your Deadlifts

Training for strength takes time. So why people smash through deadlift sets quicker than they should is beyond me, it just doesn't help you!

Your body and your health is much more important than rushing through a touch and go set.

Do that if you want to turn your spine into bone dust and pain.

To perform your deadlift sets properly, watch this video. I outline the reasons for training with a rest between EVERY rep, and you can see one of my athletes doing his set.






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Rugby Strength Show #14 - Three Ways to Train for Power

Let me introduce to you the three phases of every power movement... Understanding these phases will help you plan smarter training blocks and individual exercises. For the majority of your training, use jumps. All types of jumps are helpful, just watch the video after reading the definitions of each phase of power movements below and it will all make sense!


Concentric Phase:

This is where you are producing force AKA jumping upwards, the drive forward in sprinting, a big hit as you lift the opponent off the floor.

Eccentric Phase: This is where you receive force AKA landing from a jump, the impact of your foot on the ground during sprinting, the absorbing phase of impact on your shoulder when making a big hit.

Amortisation Phase: This is the gap in time between receiving force and then producing it again.

To understand this phase I want you to imagine a pendulum swinging.

Don't get hypnotised just yet though! Just visualise it swinging left to right AND be aware of the pendulum stopping at the top of each swing, just as the power runs out on the way up and just before it starts to fall back down.

That gap where the pendulum is hanging mid-air, just poised to start falling and producing force, is the amortisation phase.


Concentric, eccentric and amortisation phases are part of every power movement you do, so whether that's sidestepping an opponent, jumping for a high ball or just sprinting down the pitch like a cheetah, you NEED to focus on each phase in your training!

Here's the video for today:




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Rugby Strength Show #13 - Two Easy & Daily Recovery Movements

It's been a great summer….unless you've been crushed by your coach in pre-season training! But hey, rugby's a tough sport for tough guys…and girls, so sometimes you gotta put the work in or you simply won't be fit enough when the season starts. The problem is that with an increased volume of training, your recovery needs also increase. Very simply, you need to look after yourself.

This means:


1. More sleep

2. More healthy food and water

3. More light recovery workouts and mobility drills


Today's show is to help you get into a regular routine of mobility work, cos let's face it, stretching can be a pain-in-the-ass to remember and boring as hell to do!

So in this video I make it really easy to do, challenge yourself to try it daily for 2 weeks and you'll really enjoy the difference.

REMEMBER: Recover faster and you'll get quicker gains!



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Rugby Strength Show #11 – Warming Up the Ankle & Foot for Football

Football!? Yep, we’re here to help ALL athletes benefit from this show! Plus let’s face it, football (soccer) is the most popular sport in the world after all!


Today’s episode is an answer to the following question from a viewer:


What warm-up drills can you do for football?


The problem is that because football and rugby have been around for over 100 years, the practices and training methods used are, quite literally, outdated. So as much as I could give you some fancy warm-up drills to do, you’ll inevitably be doing leg swings and a quick jog round the pitch when you train with your team!


With this in mind I’ve put together a simple routine to do BEFORE you go and train, ideally you’d do this DAILY to develop high quality soft tissue and ankle joint integrity:




Here's the routine:

1. Passive ankle turns: 1 set of 50 turns clockwise and anti-clockwise

2. Ankle self mob: 2 sets of 15 reps each side

3. Ball roll shin: 1 set of 60 secs per shin


That’s the show for today, shoot me a question at if you’d like to gain some knowledge!





Rugby Strength Show #10 – Stop Stupid Shoulder Injuries!

If you play rugby or a contact sport, the chances are that your shoulders are going to get hurt sooner or later. Lots of impact force going through a very mobile shoulder joint…hmm….something’s gonna give!

Fortunately there is something we can do to protect our super shoulders, and it doesn’t involve wearing pads and a helmet like those American Football lads ;) Watch the video below to see a couple of movements I use DAILY with all my clients, whether they play a sport or not, these are essentials for healthy and pain free joints:


1. No-Moneys


This simple movement strengthens your rotator cuff and restores a hell of a lot of movement to the glenohumeral joint capsule. No equipment necessary, no excuses then!


2. Ball Roll Chest


Grab a hard lacrosse/cricket/hockey ball and roll out your chest muscles. I’ve seen this soft tissue release cure back pain, shoulder pain and even tight necks….all caused by chronically tight chest muscles. Having your chest muscles forcibly lengthened in every crunching tackle you make (or receive!) puts more than a few spots of tough scar tissue and tight muscle fibres. Roll it out guys!


3. Thoracic Extensions


Your spine gets some serious loading throughout a game of rugby. It’s safe to say 99% of the forces your body receives will go through the spine, and if it isn’t up to the challenge…well…you can kiss an injury-free season goodbye. The thoracic spine is very commonly immobile and rigid in a lot of people, let alone rugby players, if you struggle with overhead movement, sort this area of the spine out and marvel at your new found movement (and happiness!).


So there are three awesome movements to prevent AND cure your shoulder injuries.


Got a question for the Rugby Strength Show? Just email me at and I’ll video the answer!





Rugby Strength Show #9 – Energy Systems and Endurance Workouts

I have made a BIG mistake in the way I thought rugby players should be conditioned. Please read the following story:  

I recently started playing rugby again (after 2 busy years getting my gym off the ground!) and needed to get in shape, so I began training 200m sprints once a week. I got to the point (after 5 weeks of training) where I managed ten 200m sprints with 90 seconds rest. This was on a Tuesday and then I played my first full game of rugby the following week’s Saturday.


This is a good time to say that a lot of training methods for rugby conditioning promote the traditional interval training method of 30 seconds on, 90 seconds off for 6-10 sets. Well….


What a waste of time that training turned out to be! My legs turned to jelly within the first half an hour, my lungs were killing me and, whilst I was definitely one of the fittest on the field (was at a pretty low standard team at the time!), I was annoyed that I felt this way. So let’s break down my training methods:


Ten 200m sprints of approx 40 secs each means 400 seconds of high intensity work for a total that is less than 7 minutes of training.


A rugby game lasts 80 minutes. Was 7 minutes enough work?




These 200m sprints were stressing the glycolytic energy system which provides the majority of energy production for work periods of approx 30-90 seconds.


A rugby game lasts 80 minutes and therefore is predominantly aerobic. Was I training the right energy system?




Running for 200m considerably reduced the power output of my body during the last 25-30 seconds of each sprint (once I’d gone past 10-12 seconds and used up my immediate anaerobic or ATP-PC stores) and required at least 90 seconds to recover due to the extremely fatiguing and extended nature of each set.



A typical game requires high intensity work for <20 seconds (sprinting at top speed, tackling, rucking, scrummaging etc.) then low intensity for 20-60 seconds (walking, jogging, submaximal sprinting, passing, kicking etc.) interspersed with infrequent and short (30-60 second) passive rest (standing around between plays). Was I simulating these demands with my 200m sprints?




So basically, with my 200m sprint training I worked for too long (~40 seconds), with too much rest (because I needed extra rest due to the long 40 second working periods) and couldn’t sustain this for longer than 7 minutes. Doh!


But hey, better my mistake and your lesson than we both do something stupid!


To train the right way for rugby you must either work at a really high intensity for 20 seconds or less and then have 20-60 seconds of active recovery (skipping or jogging) and then repeat this for at least 20 total minutes of training to simulate a rugby game and train both your ATP-PC (alactic) energy system AND your aerobic system to develop what is known as alactic capacity.


OR you could work at a moderate intensity for 2 minute ‘rounds’ with one minute of passive recovery (standing, stretching or walking) for 6-12 sets to train your aerobic system and develop aerobic power.


Here is a video of both of these methods:



Simply put, performance in rugby comes down to this:


Build your strength levels to the point where you can work at a higher intensity than anyone else on the field and develop a powerful aerobic system that lets you recover quickly between these bouts of high intensity work.


ALWAYS get stronger, it will help everything you do, but then develop your ability to STAY strong whilst working over a long period of time by developing alactic capacity and aerobic power.


For the visual learners amongst you (like me!) this should explain it nicely:



Also, remember that your rugby matches (and hopefully team training nights) are conditioning too! So count everything you do each week in your training program and work HARD, results will come.


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