Saturday, March 31, 2012

I hope that you securing your spot in the play-offs today, but if you are not continue to build for a big end to the season. Today is a great day to dig deep and push hard.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
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Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Lift:
1. Power Snatch. 7 (sets) x 3 (reps). Focus on being slow off the ground and accelerating from the hips and landing firm on the catch.
2. Back Squat. 5 x 5. Focus on keeping the chest up and pausing at the bottom before exploding to the top. This will need be at a weight that is lighter than you would normally use because of the pause at the bottom.
3. Deadlifts. 3 x 12. This is a quick set and you want to move the weight quickly. It should be at 70 of 1RM (rep max).
4. Military Press. 5 x 8. The goal is to increase your weight on every set. Keep your legs set and drive by activating your core before punching through the bar.

Conditioning:
Complete 10 rounds of 5 Pullups, 10 KB/DB Swings, 15 Pushups as quickly as possible. Use a weight for the kettlebell swings that you could easily complete 20 swings of while keeping your core tight. You will need to rest at some stage, but try to minimize the rest and keep moving.

Stretches:
Generally all body stretching.

Friday, March 30, 2012

How do you know you’re ready for a game? In sports psychology, practitioners refer to the arousal curve. Broken down into simple language, this is how hyped an athlete needs to be to perform at his or her best. At one end of the curve is calm bordering on sleepy and at the other end is one step away from pure rage. As with most things, extremes rarely produce the best results. So where do you fit?

Think back to a great performance where you were in “the zone.” I’m not going to try and define it, but its the time when you knew before the game you were going to play well and then you went out and executed. Before that game how did you feel? Compare and contrast this with a game that you played poorly and you felt like crap before you started and then continued to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Take a solid look at your mental state before each match and you’ll see where on the arousal curve you need to lie.

For a few years as a new player to senior rugby, I tried to get really hyped up and angry before a game. I saw great players do this and I tried to copy them. However, the more excited and into the pre-match I was, the worse that I played. Then before one game I sat with friends, ate some lunch and thought very little about rugby. I came in very relaxed and happy and I played awesome. So where do I fit? I need to be happy before a game, but I need to come with a purpose. If I miss either one of those, I have a hard time playing rugby the way I want to play. So before a game, I assess where I am: too calm or too hyped. Then I take steps to calm myself or increase my excitement until I’m in that happy with a purpose spot.

It takes time, but find your arousal spot. It’ll help bring consistency to your game and increase your confidence before kick-off.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How well do you know your team mates? Which ones react to negative feedback well? Which ones need positive reinforcement? Taking the time to understand how to communicate and motivate with your teammates becomes more important at the business end of the season. In a close game, knowing the right message to say is important BUT saying it the right way so it is heard is critical. Know yourself and know how to communicate to your teammates.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
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Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Speed:
1. 8 x 40m sprints with 2 minutes rest between reps. 2 sprints from a 3-point start, 2 from a standing start, 2 from a falling start, and 2 from a lying start. Focus on staying relaxed, keeping your elbows at 90 degrees and driving your arms from your shoulders. If your elbows are at 90 degrees then you will be able to drive your hand from your cheek (face) to your cheek (butt).

Ball Skills:
1. Finger taps at arms length. 60 seconds. Move the ball around and focus on keeping the ball on the pads of the fingers.
2. Shazams. 1 handed passing facing your partner/wall. Start with your hand underneath the ball with the ball touching your belly button. Drive with your forearms before finishing the pass by flicking your wrists. The object is to develop wrist strength. Complete 20-30 each hand.
Sideways Shazams. Turn side-on to your partner or the wall and complete as above. Complete 20-30 each hand.
3. Pop Passes. Face your partner and practice using on your wrists to flick a pass to your partner. Complete 20-30 facing your partner then practice while running 5m apart and then 7m apart.

Stretches:
Calves, hamstrings, quads and lower back.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Wednesday! As the weather heats up this is the day that you begin to hydrate for the weekend. If possible start increasing your water in-take by SIPPING water regularly. If you guzzle your body just flushes the water and with it some of nutrients that you need. Take a couple of mouthfuls every 15-20 minutes.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
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Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Lift:
DB Complex. Complete 6 sets of 6 repetitions for each exercise with 2 minutes rest between each set. Deadlift, Hang Clean, Push Press, Front Squat and Bent Row.

Conditioning:
Complete rounds of 21-15-9 repetitions of air squats, pushups and situps. For the air squats, look to go below parallel at the bottom and extending your hips at the top. For the pushups, it is chest touching the ground at the bottom and locking your elbows at the top. For the situps, feet in the butterfly position start with your shoulders on the ground and finish by touching your toes.

Stretches:
Quads, hips, lower back, shoulders, upper back and calves.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Matty Saunders at the Hong Kong 7s.

Congrats to the Philippine Volcanoes on their debut in the Hong Kong 7s. The results didn’t role create a Cinderella story, but the story is that they were invited and are building a reputation as an upcoming nation in Asian Rugby. I’m proud to be Pinoy!

This time in the season is when the time you have taken to practice your skills kick in. You can focus on the little details and perfect your technique. You have completed the motion over 100 times and your beginning to understand the motion intimately. Now work on consistency of your technique.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Agility:
1. Ladder Work: 4-6 reps of each skill, if you don’t have a ladder grab a bunch of full water bottles and use them as cones spaced 18-24 inches apart. Single Foot Skips, Double Foot Skips, Single Foot Run, Double Foot Run, Bunny Jumps, Right Foot Hops, Left Foot Hops, Half Icky Shuffle, Full Icky Shuffle
2. 5-10-5: Complete 6 repetitions (3 going right first and 3 going left first). Recover for 1-2 minutes between reps and give it everything you have.
3. T-Drill: Complete 4 repetitions (2 right and 2 left). Recover about 1 minute between reps. Focus on short steps around the cones and driving out of the turns with low hips.

Ball Skills:
1. Tactile Pressure shuttle: Set up 10m shuttle and run while tapping the ball in your hand above your head. Complete 6 reps on each hand with 10 pushup penalty for every drop ball.
2. Ball Toss: Throw the ball into the air using a perfect spiral. Complete tosses for 1 minute using your dominant hand and 1 minute using your non-dominant hand.
3. Scrumhalf passes: Practice approaching the ball on the ground and picking it up and passing in the same motion.

Monday, March 26, 2012

By this stage of the season everyone plays a little hurt. Listen to your body, sometimes the best training is to take a day off to recover. If you’re body is hurting give it a couple of days and let yourself heal. The other part to that is you need to be alright mentally with “not getting enough hours in the gym”. This was an incredibly hard aspect for me. I felt like I was under preparing by not putting in my time in the gym during the week. However, I used positive self-talk and critically assessing my ability to play to build confidence. What did I do? I reminded myself that every plays hurt at the end of the season, but I had done the work in the offseason to be successful. I also assessed the benefit of a training on my injured knee (hurting it more) against the benefit of resting (being able to play the next weekend). Take the time to assess your situation every week and give yourself the time to rest if necessary.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Lift:
1. Hang Power Clean + Jerks. 5 (sets) x 3 (reps) + 2 (reps). Use a lift weight, only about 50-60% of your 1 RM (rep max). Focus on moving the weight and your body quickly. The stress is on your nervous system moving the weight effectively, rather than on your muscular and skeletal systems to move the weight.
2. SUPERSET: DB Incline Bench Press/Chin-ups. 4 x 8/8. On the bench press pause for a second at bottom of the lift and drive the weight to the top explosively. If you can easily do 20 chin-ups then complete these chin-ups with weight. Focus on moving explosively to the top.
3. SUPERSET: Broad Jumps/BB Box Step-ups. 3 x 5/8 each leg. Step up onto a box that has your thigh close to parallel with the ground. Drive up through your heel and focus on squeezing your hips at the top to stand all the way up.

Conditioning:
Back pedal Shuttle (10-20-30-40) for 5 repetitions beginning every 4 minutes. Start the shuttle on lying face down on the ground, get up and sprint 10m do a burpee then back pedal back to the start, repeat at the 20, 30 and 40. After completing the shuttle, hold a 30 second plank while resting.

Stretches:
Calves, Achilles, quads, hip flexors, glutes, lower back, chest and shoulders.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

If you don’t have a game this is a great opportunity to move some heavy weight. Take your rest between sets and really go after those big numbers. This will test your mind and body.

Warm-Up:
Mobility: 10 forward hip circles, 10 backward hip circles each leg, 10 forward arm circles each leg, 10 backward arm circles, 10 squats, 10 lunges each leg, 10 pushups, 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 forward leg swings each leg, 10 sideways leg swings each leg, 10 iron cross reaches each leg, 10 scorpion reaches each leg
.
Heart Rate Spike: 2 x (10m high knees, 10m butt kickers, 10m carioca, 10m falling start acceleration)

Lift:
1. Power Snatch. 5 (sets) x 2 (reps). With the power snatch, focus on driving up as the bar comes into your hips before pulling yourself under the bar. Pulling yourself under a bar is hard to do, but the first time you consciously do it every aspect of this lift will improve.
2. Back Squat. 5 x 5. Go heavy. Focus on keeping your chest up and your head neutral. Drive out of the hole by forcing your heel into the ground and opening your knees and hips at the same time.
3. Deadlifts. 5 x 3. Go heavy. Focus on locking your core into place and maintaining the natural arch your back throughout the lift.
4. Military Press. 4 x 12. This should be a weight that is hard for the last 2-3 reps of each set. Military Press is a strange beast because a couple of pounds too much and you won’t be able to perform the lift. So my advice would be to make slight weight increases every set.

Conditioning:
The Chief” is a CrossFit workout that uses interval work and moving moderately heavy weights and your own body (click here for workout). It is a brutal little workout, but very effective for rugby. Lifting a moderately heavy weight from the ground to the shoulders, is the same kinetic pathway that is used in tackling or clearing out, the pushups is getting off the ground, and the squats is the fatigue of running out a whole game.