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Old 07-22-2009, 03:13 PM   #1
mark williams
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 55
Default The Road To Rugby Ruin

I have had a journal over at crossfit.com for a few months, charting my return to activity following an ACL reconstruction in December 08.
I've decided to move over here as my goals have become more specific and this seems to be a place where crossfit is seen as a tool rather than the tool. As a result a wider range of opinions are available.

A quick rundown of my old journal then: I was always active - although a bit inconsistent since leaving university, which led to a pretty significant weight gain taking me to around 200lbs which on a 5'3" fella is not a good look! I dropped weight playing Judo, messing about with crossfit and got to a more reasonable 185lbs, although still off my "fighting weight" of around 170lbs. A completely blown out ACL while playing American Football and nearly 18 months of denial before going to a surgeon led to shameful levels of inacitivity and a wobbling Welshman weighing in at 210lbs.

After the initial reconstruction, I dropped back to 192lbs and had great momentum but complications with my knee again hindered my training which led to a second surgery - this time to tidy up the cartilage - which was done on June 4th and was a resounding success - my pain pretty much went and ROM was better that same evening than it had been in months.
The 2 months of heavily reduced training and flagging optimism, and the month following the second op took its toll and I'm currently at 198.5lbs, but free to do almost any sort of training.

Goals
-To simultaneously drop bodyfat and increase rugby-specific conditioning ready for a planned return to contact training in September and matches in October. Weight-wise, the aim is to drop to 185lbs by the end of September.
-Speed/acceleration/agility performance to get back to (and beyond) levels I enjoyed 4/5 years ago.
-Complete my recovery and get back to playing regular rugby.

Plan
Crossfit certainly helped me get back to my current level of conditioning, and would undoubtedly take me further, but I need to get more specific.

-Strength and power training will be restricted to some core lifts which I will alternate at various points, but to begin with will consist of deadlifts, power cleans, hang cleans, squats, bench and pull-ups.

-Agility training to be undertaken (for the first time ever) and progressed as my knee allows.

-Speed work to be done (again, for the first time), with focus on short sprints (5m-30m) and acceleration.

-Conditioning to be very much interval based. The position I am hoping to return to - centre - is more about repeated sprints and anaerobic work than dogging it for 80 minutes (plus, long runs bore the shit out of me).

Overall program will need to be adapted as club training and matches are introduced but will maintain same basic shape (although very open to suggestions from you guys!

Epic first post over, next one will give yesterday and todays workout.

Cheers
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:35 PM   #2
mark williams
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 55
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Tuesday 21st July

Agility
5-dot drill

Lifts
Power Clean
1x3 @ 50kg
1x3 @ 60kg
1x3 @ 70kg
1x1 @ 80kg
1x1 @ 85kg - PR
1x1 @ 80kg

Bench Press
1x8 @ 60kg
1x8 @ 80kg
3x8 @ 90kg

Conditioning/Speed
10 x rolling sprint intervals (15m jog, 15m sprint, walk-back and repeat immediately)
Rest 2 mins
3 x rolling sprint intervals

Straight-leg-deadlift
1x5 @ 50kg
1x5 @ 60kg
3x5 @ 80kg

Alternating Leg Press
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 70kg
3x5 @ 80kg

Notes
-Agility drill took about 5 minutes to do because I don't really know the sequence yet and there was a lot of resetting after reps.
-strength work was ok, PR in power clean but looking to get to 100kg+ 1RM so not particularly excited by 85kg. First time benching for a loooong time but reps were solid, although last rep was a major effort.
-conditioning work was meant to be 2x10 but knee tendon started to ache a bit so stopped early. Was out of breath which was the idea, and enjoyed the increased coordination and footspeed (although drive still poor). i have basically had to re-learn how to run, having not so much as jogged since the injury! Very weird, but coming back slowly.
-SLDL's were easy enough, but first real go at them so held back on the weight, while the leg presses were very difficult. The last set was murder, which shows how weak my legs have become. I want to get this to regular squatting asap, but will only do when I can do around .75 bodyweight on one leg.

Overall, good workout and was sore in the morning. Structure of the workout was all over the place because I was trying to fit in the work I was meant to do on Monday (gym had false fire alarm so couldn't train Monday).
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:44 PM   #3
mark williams
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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Agility
5-dot drill

Lifts
Deadlift
1x5 @ 80kg
1x5 @ 100kg
1x5 @ 120kg
1x5 @ 130kg - PR
1x3 @ 120kg

Pull-ups
2x8
1x6
2x5

Conditioning
5 x Powerbag Clean Litvi Sprints (cleans x 8; 35m sprints, walk back, repeat immediately)

Notes
-definite improvement in 5-dot drill already, but a long way to go before I can really say I'm agile! Will keep learning it this week and start timing next week,
-Pleased with deadlift: all reps had real snap in them, grip was the limiting factor.
-Pull-ups also had 'snap' chin to bar reps... they felt almost powerful which is a weird thing for me on pull-ups as I'm normally dragging myself up rather than flinging.
-Litvi Sprints rock. Fact. Managed the 5 sets before I felt sick! These will be a staple as I think they really mirror playing centre in rugby very well.

Knee tendon feeling pretty tender now, so sat here with an ice-pack but footspeed again improving. On the sprints could really feel the difference in drive strength between my left (rehabbing) and right legs...

Taking tomorrow off, then a speed session Friday (after a physiotherapy appointment). Might do the 5-dot drill a couple of times in the evening to keep the co-ordination going.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:47 PM   #4
Derek Weaver
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Posts: 2,642
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Looks like you're off to a good start. When I was still playing I had shoulder and towards the end neck issues so goals were different.

As the season gets closer you may want to experiment a bit with Bulgarian Bag training. That's down the road though.

I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

What kind of frequency are you training with and are you incorporating any skill work or just injury proofing the body for now?
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Old 07-23-2009, 10:38 AM   #5
mark williams
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 55
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Hi Derek - rugby beats up all of you, doesn't it?!

I'll look into Bulgarian Bag training... no idea what it is but I like the sound of it!

Skill work will only really kick off when I start club training again. My plan is to ease in to practices slowly, joining in with all ball skill drills and doing more and more of the sessions as the weeks go by until I'm all-in and covered in mud.
I still have a hard time imagining being able to take a tackle or throw a side-step at full speed - think the mental/confidence could be an issue. Hopefully small but positive steps will get me back to hurtling into contact with reckless abandon before long

In terms of frequency, my program plan looks like this from next week (although will be playing by ear as body/injury allows):

Monday (speed focus)
-5-dot drill
-depth jumps
-10m starts
-Leg press (building to squats asap); SLDL
-Core work

Tuesday (conditioning focus)
-5-dot drill
-Power clean; Bench press
-Litvi Sprints

Wednesday (conditioning focus)
-5-dot drill
-Deadlift; Pull-ups
-Litvi Sprints

Thursday
OFF

Friday (speed focus)
-5-dot drill
-drop jumps
-rolling sprints
-Lighter leg press; lighter SLDL
-Core

Saturday (conditioning focus)
-5-dot drill
-Hang clean; Jammer extension
-Litvi Sprints

Sunday
OFF

I'll see how this feels - 2 consecutive Litvi sprint workouts might be a bit much but I'll soon find out. I would welcome any feedback/suggestions though!

A day off today - knee was stiff this morning but not the same discomfort I usually get for the first few hours the morning after sprints/runs... could this be progress?
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:11 PM   #6
mark williams
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 55
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Agility
-5 dot drill

Speed
-Drop Jumps
2x10

-6 x rolling sprints (10m jog, 20m sprint, full recovery)

Lifts
-Leg Press
1x5 @ 50kg
1x5 @ 60kg
3x5 @ 80kg

-Belgian Split Squats
2x5 @ no weight
3x5 @ 20kg

-SLDL
1x5 @ 50kg
1x5 @ 60kg
3x5 @ 85kg

Notes
-getting better at the dot drill. Start timing from next week,
-drop jumps were from about 1.5 feet, focus was on slight softness in the knees on landing and really sticking the land.
-sprints were half-decent, which was a nice surprise... by which I mean they felt faster than previous attempts, but still a fair way off where I want them,
-Leg press felt a lot easier than it did on Tuesday and will up weights next time out.
-The split squats were a nice surprise: I'd tried to them a few weeks before my last surgery and couldn't even do them with no weight added. These reps were strong and quite snappy. Will up to 20kg for first 2 sets and 30kg for the last 3 next time.
-SLDL were pretty easy again. Taking this slow, but should up to 90kg on Monday. Need to get these hams and glutes up to speed!

A good session, and looking forward to the Litvi's tomorrow
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:41 AM   #7
mark williams
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Posts: 55
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wt - 197

Agility
5-dot drill

Lifts
Hang Cleans
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 50kg
3x3 @ 70kg

Jammer Extensions
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 50kg
3x5 @ 80kg

Conditioning
5 x Powerbag Clean Squats Litvi Sprints 8 x clean squats, 35m sprints

Notes
- dot-drill continues to improve but the left leg complex is understandably progressing slower than the other movements.
- hang clean was very explosive, and should have 2.5kg next week.
- jammer extensions are not for me. I'm too short to have any real leg involvement, plus the carry over to rugby isn't as great as to A Football so will drop and replace - not sure with what yet.
-Litvi's were bastards. The clean squat is a more involved movement than the power clean and really noticed an effect on the sprints... my legs felt lighter and got some foot speed up quicker I felt. Will use these, and other leg based mvmts for Litvi's from here on in.

Overall, good workout, and again blown away by how systematically shattered I am after the Litvis. Once the sick feeling subsides, I am hit by how I am immediately hungry and sleepy!! By their nature they won't get easier because it's all about maximal intensity but really enjoy them.

Rest day tomorrow, knee tendon could probably use it, although it seems to be recovering quicker nowadays, and warming up a bit quicker.

BBQ'ing a quartered chicken now which I will eat over the course of the rest of the day.
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Old 07-25-2009, 05:54 PM   #8
Derek Weaver
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2,642
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Nice call on the dot drill and Litvi sprints.

Here's a good video for Bulgarian Bags. I figured the rotational strength and bodyweight plus bag resistance exercises that can be done may make a good tool for maintenance/improvement of sport specific attributes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il8rU0H-9ps

Keep up the good work.
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Quote:
And if you don't think kettleball squat cleans are difficult, I say, step up to the med-ball
- CJ Kim
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Old 07-26-2009, 02:24 AM   #9
mark williams
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 55
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Hi Derek,

Thanks for the link: after your mentioning the bulgarian bags the other day I did some googling and immediately felt it would be great to add... then I saw the price of them and thought I'd have to write it off. This video is great, I've priced it up at a little over 10 including all materials so well over 190% discount! I'll have a nose around today and see if I can find shops that are open that sell inner tubes, and maybe make a start today.

While we're on it Derek, the general idea on my non-speed days is to include a couple of lifts that are functional and may have carry-over to rugby. What do you think of my selection and do you have any suggestions about others I might incorporate?
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Old 07-26-2009, 08:06 AM   #10
mark williams
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 55
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Was going to be a rest day but am re-jigging weekly schedule slightly - mainly because the gym in general, but the track in particular, is really busy on a Monday so I'd rather not train that day.
Also, wanted to see if I can squat yet...

Wt - 196lbs
Lifts
Squats
1x5 @ 40kg
1x5 @ 50kg
3x5 @ 70kg

Belgian Split Squats
1x5 @ BW
1x5 @ 20kg
3x5 @ 40kg

SLDL
1x5 @ 60kg
1x5 @ 70kg
3x5 @ 95kg

Core
Lying draw-ins
10x10 second holds

Explosive Sit-ups (feet anchored, knees bent)
1x5 @ BW
1x5 @ 5kg
3x5 @ 8kg

Explosive Jammer Twists (planted foot in line with the handle)
2x5 @ 15kg
3x5 @ 25kg

Swiss Ball Back Bridges
2x10 second holds

Swiss Ball Back Bridges, alternating leg raises
3x5

Planks
2x10 seconds @ BW
3X10seconds @ 10kg

Notes
-Squats were very very light but I did them!! First set was stiff but soon loosened up. Reps were ATG and controlled. Up to 75kg on Tuesday .
-BSS were good, needed to concentrate a lot to do them but form was good and mvmt was solid. Keep this weight for next week.
-SLDL was a cock-up! Meant to do 90kg but mis-read my notes, and did 95kg... reps were solid though so will keep moving on up.
-core work was interesting, not paid much attention to it before but been reading up that it is what makes you able to transmit your power into the opposition in the contact so decided I'd better get on it. Amazed at how the draw-ins hit bits that I didn't know I had!

Looking forward to my day off tomorrow, but have really enjoyed this training week.
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