WE’RE delighted to announce a major signing this month – John Dams, one of the world’s foremost strength and conditioning experts, joins us as our new fitness editor. He starts here by looking at general strength and range of motion.

Warm Up:
These first two warm-up exercises are good for improving general mobility around the hips. Perform over a ten-metre area

  •  When doing the spiderman crawl (above left), drive your heels to the outside of your hands, and push your chest to the ceiling
  • Crawl forward into the plank position, and then continue
  • Walking lunge with rotation (right): force back heel to floor
  • Rotate your shoulders to increase the stretch

Key Movement 1:
Two single-limb exercises to help improve general strength, and prepare the body for more intense specific strength work

  • Barbell step up (left): start with your thigh above parallel
  • Control your descent and land softly
  • When doing the single-arm row (right), lead with your elbow
  • Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between your two feet, and put your hand on the bench

Key Movement 2:
Also useful to lay the foundation for more intense pushing and pulling later, but these exercises use your body weight

  • Make sure you keep your chest up during the chin-up (left)
  • Pull yourself up to a height where your chin is higher than the bar, then slowly lower yourself back down
  • Weighted press-up (right): keep your trunk strong throughout
  • Position your hands directly below your shoulders

Conditioning Tool:
Pictured above are two general conditioning ideas, but the work/rest intervals can be applied to other equipment too

  • Keep your conditioning off-feet at this stage of the year. Swimming is a good addition to the bike and rower (above)
  • You need to prepare your lower limbs for on-feet work
  • Work on a 2:1 work:rest basis. So do 1 min sprint, 30 sec easy
  • Keep your revs per minute (RPM) high

Here’s an additional warm-up exercise for your session, it’s good for warming up your shoulders.

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

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