The World Cup is over, and while things did not go entirely to plan for Ireland, there were a few bright spots – one of which was the ball carrying of Sean O’Brien.
Okay, the back-row missed his side’s last match in the tournament because of he was suspended after striking Pascal Pape of France in the last round of the pool stages, but before then he was carrying into contact powerfully. In fact, he carried more than any other Ireland player, taking the ball up 49 times. This worked out at an average of 12 carries per game and over the piece he took 29 of those carries across the gain line.
Which is what makes O’Brien stand out. He is a master of rumbling through tight exchanges, putting his head down and churning forward. So how do you try and emulate that when you play rugby?
Well we’ve got three exercises for you here – courtesy of the fine minds at Performance Pro gym in London – that we think will help you stay low to the ground, keep your balance and pump your legs as you drive through tacklers.
On this list is the pause squat, renegade rows and defecit deadlifts. Two legs exercises that have an element of fatigue in-build and an exercise that utilises upper body strength and a strong core – all elements that are vital if you are to carry with defenders trying to drag you down on your back as you power forward. The squat involves holding the action at the bottom of movement, to allow your muscles to tire before standing up fully. The defecit deadlift involves taking the bar lower than the average deadlift, as by standing on a box you must lower the bar a greater distance. Finally, with the renegade row, as you will see from the video, by lifting one arm off the ground and pulling a dumb-bell to your chest you could be destabilised and so must keep your core muscles rigid and keep the back flat.
To find out more about these exercise, check out the current issue of Rugby World – on sale now.