HERE’S HOW to make strength gains to benefit you throughout next season, writes John Dams. It’s also time to do some more intense conditioning, and add volume to your training. Remember to include some rugby skills work!

Warm-Up:
This month’s warm-up exercises are particularly good for improving mobility around the hips. Perform over a 10m area.

  • Start the caterpillar (above left) in a press up position. Keep legs straight as you walk your toes towards your palms
  • Walk hands back to the start. Extend through your upper back I Lateral hurdle walk-over (right): keep chest high, legs straight I Step over and back without breaking at the hip

Key Movement 1:
These exercises improve sub-max/max strength. Both are technically easy to perform and will benefit all athletes.

  • Romanian deadlift (left): good for posterior chain strength, keep back straight and chest out. Bend knees slightly
  • Lower the bar as far as your hamstrings will allow I Dumb-bell bench press (right): weights shoulder-width apart I Lower to just below shoulders, keeping lower arms parallel

Key Movement 2:
I call these exercises ‘accessories’. They can be added to your programme to increase the volume of your training.

  • When performing the dumb-bell lateral raise (left), keep your chest up and dumb-bells to your side
  • Raise the dumb-bells to shoulder height I Side plank (right): start on your elbow in side plank position
  • Push your top hand up and lift your foot off the ground

Conditioning Tool:
These two are hard! But only as hard as you make them, so make yourself work. Work with a partner for extra motivation.

  • Shuttle run (left): place cones at 5m, 10m and 15m
  • Shuttle as hard as you can, working on a 30-sec turnaround
  • When performing the prowler push (right), keep low and push hard!
  • Work on a 1:2 work:rest ratio

This article appeared in the August 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.

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