Monday, April 23, 2012

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Congratulations to the Philippine Volcanoes for winning the HSBC A5N Division 1 Championship over the last week. The team had wins over Singapore, Chinese Taipei, and Sri Lanka to win promotion to the top flight A5N and the next stage of Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifications. The best part was to see the home Filipino fans cheering at Rizal Memorial Stadium. A great job the management especially Expo Mejia and Matt “Chooky” Cullen.

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. Thrusters. 3 (sets) x 20 (reps). These are high rep sets, so the weight should be very light, for many this will just be a 45#/20kg bar. Keep your elbows high on the squat and carry the momentum through the movement to lockout overhead.
2. Deadlift. 5 x 5. This is the heavy lift for the day. Add weight to each set, start your first work set at 75% and work up to between 85-90% for your last set. Lock your core before you address the bar and maintain that through the movement.
3. DB Incline Bench Press. 4 x 8. This replaces the weighted dip, the focus is more on controlled reps through a full range of motion. Take 2 seconds on the way down before being explosive on the way up.

Conditioning:
Complete rounds of 21-15-9 reps of Power Snatch (95#) and burpees. Use a weight that you can maintain good form with, this maybe just the bar for some because the burpees will take it out of your shoulders and hips. NEVER STOP ON THE BURPEES! Embrace the suck and push through the pain. This workout needs to take less than 9 minutes, but some will do this in around 5.

Stretches:
Lower back, hips, quads, Achilles, calves and shoulders.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Good luck with your games this weekend. If you are not playing then get in the gym early and head out to watch your competition play in the afternoon. The more you know about your opposition, the better prepared you will be to beat them.

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 Clean. 7 (sets) x 2 (reps). Go heavy as possible without compromising good technique (I didn’t say perfect technique, I want you pushing the boundaries). Keep your core tight and use your hips to generate speed on the bar before having quick elbows snap around the bar to lock it into position on your shoulders.
2. Behind the Neck Push Press. 5 x 8. Look to use the bar coming down on your back as the dip between reps and knock them out quickly. This ability to absorb then reply to pressure is critical in the tackle contest. Feel the weight of your opposition player attacking you, then use your dip and drive to direct him/her wherever you need them to go.
3. DB/KB Walking Lunges. 4 x 12 each leg. For this, rack the DB/KB on your shoulders before starting the movement. This will place great pressure on your core to maintain stability through the movement.

Conditioning:
Complete 10 rounds as quickly as possible of 15 deadlifts and 15 hand release pushups. For the deadlifts use no more than 50% of your 1RM (rep max) or 135lb/60kg, whichever is lighter. The idea is to move quickly without stopping. The hand release pushups require you to rest your chest on the ground, lift your hands up before replacing them on the ground and pushing yourself back to the start position. The idea is to keep your body planking and move your bodyweight from a dead start position.

Stretches:
Lower back, hip complex, shoulders, chest, calves, hamstrings and quads.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Control the controllable. When I first heard this I phrase I was playing for the Adelaide Black Falcons and my coach, Steve Boyd, exhorted the squad to concentrate on training hard and developing as a team. It is probably the most important phrase in my entire rugby career. I can only worry about what I can control. So what can I control?

I can control my preparation. This includes physical and mental preparation. My physical is to train throughout the season. Keep on top of my cardiovascular conditioning and my strength work. The mental comes in two parts. The first is knowing the game plan. I know the pattern we are going to play and how we, as a team, are going to combat the opposition. The second is personal psychological preparation. Do I know my key phrases to build confidence through self-talk? Am I prepared to deal with adversity on the field? My key phrase to build confidence is “Mav’s challenge” and my phrase to deal with adversity is “Next Job.” I use these phrases because they jog vivid memories of previous performances where I have played well and succeeded.

What I can’t control? The referee, the weather, how much warmup time I have, the hotel room before a game…all these things could cause me to play a bad game. They require you to adapt to different stimulus and still produce great results. With things like the ref and the weather, you adjust your game to match the conditions. You can do this if you have done your preparation. With things like warmup time and hotel rooms, you ignore these distractions and focus on the match.

Good luck with play-offs if you are in the USA. This is your opportunity to go out and play your best rugby by concentrating on what you can control.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

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, April 18, 2012

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 Snatch + Overhead Squat. 5 (sets) x 3 (reps) + 3 (reps). Practice pulling yourself under the bar and sticking your landing at the same time your elbows lock the bar overhead. On completing of the third rep, complete three Overhead Squats by staying back on your heels and pushing the bar behind you. This will increase shoulder flexibility and stability, while forcing you to concentrate on maintaining your core.
2. Back Squat. 4 x 8. Focus on keeping your core tight and driving off your heels.
3. Renegade Rows with Pushup. 3 x 8 each arm. This movement starts in the pushup position with your hands on two dumbbells. Complete the pushup and at the top do a single arm row with the left, then another pushup before a single arm row with the right. This ends up being 16 pushups and 8 rows each arm to complete a set.

Conditioning:
Complete 4 rounds as quickly as possible of 20 Russian DB Swings, 200m run and 1 minute rest. Keep your core tight on the DB swings and use a challenging weight that you can control. The 200m run should be a fast run, not a sprint. You need to be able to control your run and it should be the pace that you chase a kick at, fast but able to breakdown.

Stretches:
Achilles, calves, chest, shoulders, back and hips.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

If you played two games this weekend, do the agility work twice. The first time do it just to get moving and the second put in the normal effort.

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, April 16, 2012

This week some of you may have played two games in two days, others might be preparing for the play-offs and others might be in the middle of their season. If you just played to games in two days DON’T lift today, have an active recovery day where you go to the pool or go for a light run and stretch. If you’re preparing for the play-offs lift light and fast. If you are in the middle of your season, listen to your body but keep putting in the hard work.

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. Thrusters. 5 (sets) x 5 (reps). A thruster is a front squat, below parallel, that transitions as you stand up into a push press. Start light and in sets 4 & 5 use a weight that requires you to reset between each rep. It is important to keep you chest and elbows up during the squat, before using your hips to drive the bar off your shoulders to a lock-out overhead.
2. Deadlift. 4 x 12. Use about 60-75% of your 1RM (Rep Max). Focus on maintaining a neutral back from the start to the finish. The movement should be done quickly by driving your hips towards the bar after the bar has passed your knees.
3. Weighted Dips. 5 x 3. If you can do 15 dips without assistance than complete these as weighted dips, if you can’t then do 5 sets to failure. Focus on keeping your torso upright and driving through the ball of your hand. Make sure you go through a full range of motion, that consists of full elbow lockout at the top and your shoulder below the point of your elbow at the bottom. If you have rings use them for the dips.

Conditioning:
Complete as many rounds as possible in 12 minutes of 300m rowing and 12 burpees. The key to this workout is minimizing transition time between the rower and burpees. As you get tired you will want to slow down the transition. This is when you have to push yourself to keep moving quickly. It is like being at the bottom of a ruck and taking your time to get untangled, instead of fighting to get on your feet and get back in the play. It is you against your mind!

Stretches:
Lower back, calves, hamstrings, chest, shoulers and achilles.