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Old 05-02-2007, 08:08 PM   #11
Steve Shafley
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Quote:
except for 7's which I will not play
Hah.

You'll notice that I take a more concurrent approach than James. I think that you can get damn near everything done all at once, with perhaps a bit of emphasis on conditioning in the last 4-5 weeks before the season starts, providing you don't lose much of your condition over the off-season.

Prop specific strength work:

I've found these movements translated into better propping for me. Maybe you will too. I propped at 5'11.5" and ~235-255 lbs.

LOWER BODY:

1. EXPLOSIVE PULLS: Power cleans. I'd cycle between PCs from the floor, PCs from the hang, and high pulls with a clean grip. 2-3 week cycles in each movement. The inherent speed and violence of the power clean is really valuable for any forward. I use it so you can translate the "slower" kind of strength gains from the other work into a more explosive movement.
2. SQUATS: I'd really lean towards cycling through the back squat, front squat, and box squat in 2-3 week cycles for each movement.
3. POSTERIOR CHAIN STRENGTH: Good Morning: I feel the GM is better for a prop than the deadlift. The prop's upperbody and neck is engaged during the scrummage (as well as rucking and mauling) and it always felt to me that the good morning provided a better preparation for that sort of work. If you need to cycle this, I'd alternate a GM with an SLDL or an RDL, just because GMs seem to really grind you down.

UPPER BODY:

1. PRESSING STRENGTH: The push press is very important, especially for a lifter. Cycle Push press, incline press, and bench press.
2. MIDBACK & LAT STRENGTH: Chins or Weighted Chins, Rows, 1 Arm Rows.

The Little Things That Matter:

Neck. As a prop you have to work your neck. My suggested neck movements follow:
a. Manual Neck: This has the benefit of being able to be done anywhere. Front, back and sides
b. Neck Harness or Machine work: Because the neck often needs more than manual resistance. I really like the neck lift...i.e. you put the headstrap on, bend over and attach it to a loading pin, and you stand up with it. The isometric contraction is going to build strength exactly how you will need it in the scrum. Follow heavy neck lifts with light, pumping neck movements with the machine or harness.
c. Neck nods. Lie on a bench. Wrap a plate in a towel. Put the towel on your forehead and hang your head off the edge. Now work neck flexion movements carefully.

Calves and tibialis:

Tibialis work is something that will save your ankles and perhaps your knees as well. The tibialis is grotesquely undertrained by damn near everyone, and it's easy to remedy. Stand on a box or a step, hang your feet off the front. Lower your toes to the floor then pull them upwards towards the ceiling. Progress from two feet to one foot, and you can also add resistance by shifting your weight around. If you so desire, you can pick up or make a tibialis-specific exerciser called a DARD. I'm going to ask you to google it.

Calves: I preferred, as a rugby player, to work my calves one at a time.

Since you expressed and interest in one legged work, let me suggest some unilateral progressions:

Quad Dominant:
Lunges-->Split Squats with foot on ground--->Split squats with rear foot elevated

Glute/Hip Dominant:
1 leg Good Mornings--->1 leg deadlift variations

Putting it all together can be a mess.

I would like to see you have 3 strength sessions a week, and all of them be full body sessions. I might set them up in an alternating fashion:

Workout 1:
Explosive Pulls
Squats
Back
Neck

Workout 2:
Squats
Posterior Chain Strength
Pressing
Calves

My thoughts on conditioning:

Hard, short sprinting workouts AFTER lifting sessions. Think quality not quantity. You just want to manage the erosion of your in-season conditioning. I'd seriously consider hill sprints if possible.

XF style metcons can be detrimental to strength, so, you need to make a decision...conditioning emphasis in the FIRST half of the preseason, or in the second half. Personally, I'd lean towards the second half. You also mentioned sleds. Feel free to do some heavy and hard sled dragging instead of the XF style metcons.

Let's say we divide it up into two 8 week periods.

First 8 weeks:

3 strength sessions weekly. 1 sprint session, 1 WOD session.

My suggestions (NOTE, these are just suggestions, and I just came up with them, there are probably better ways to fit the work into your specific schedule)

SUN: OFF or active recovery
MON: Strength A + Sprint session
TUE: Probably Practice
WED: Strength B
THU: Probably Practice
FRI: Strength A + Metcon or Sled
SAT: Off or active recovery

Rotate your exercises every 2-3 weeks, unless one feels like shit and stale. If you really can't make it work, switch immediately.

And as far as practice...if you are doing conditioning during practice, then that might certainly change things up.

Second 8 weeks (conditioning emphasis)

SUN: Off or active recovery
Monday: Strength A + Sprint work
Tuesday: WOD or Sled conditioning, Practice
Wednesday: Strength B
Thursday: Practice, WOD or Sled Conditioning
Friday: Sprint work
SAT: OFF or active recovery

You really need to be able to successfully gauge your work capacity, and if training is completely out of the question, then just skip the day occasionally.

Active recovery:

-walking
-playing with kids/dog
-sauna/steamroom/hot tub/ice bath
-biking
-light swimming

Lord this is a mess. I'll have to look at it tomorrow to see if I can clean it up a bit.
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Old 05-03-2007, 02:43 AM   #12
James Evans
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Steve, I was beginning to think you'd lost interest or something...

In Phil Larder's 'Rugby League Coacing Manual' (published around 1990) he states that you should never sprint/plyo etc. on the same day as performing any leg work in the gym.

Rugby League was pretty far ahead of Union in those days but some of the training methods are bit out of date. Obviously the above statement completely rules out complex training for example.

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:40 AM   #13
Steve Shafley
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There are several ways to look at it, I like to look at the accumulation of high "intensity" stressors to the body.

For example, I'd prefer to see this cycle:

Day 1: Strength + Speed
Day 2: Off

Rather than this cycle:

Day 1: Strength
Day 2: Speed

Speed being genuine work on speed, not necessarily conditioning. The speed work is an iffy thing for an American rugger. The cost/benefit ratio is often not there, and he's almost always better off working on being much more highly conditioned that he is.

I'd rather see the first because you aren't spreading out your higher intensity (and I'm talking about impact to the body and to the CNS). Metabolic conditioning is almost always has a higher impact on the body but a medium to low impact on the CNS. Conditioning running can be set up AFTER weight work in the cycle (to minimized the deleterious effects upon the strength work)

American Rugby is almost always set up like this:

Tuesday: Practice
Thursday: Practice
Saturday: Game

The problem arises when your coach wants to perform conditioning during practice.

So, the first question is "Am I getting enough conditioning from practice to play?" The answer is probably not until the season begins.

The second question is "Am I getting the right kind of conditioning from my coach?" Again...in the US, probably not, though it seems to be catching up to speed.

Ah, you see, already, my thoughts are more organized than they were yesterday.
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:42 AM   #14
Randy Little
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In Phil Larder's 'Rugby League Coacing Manual' (published around 1990) he states that you should never sprint/plyo etc. on the same day as performing any leg work in the gym.

Steve,

What an incredible post, holy cow where do I send the check! That looks like a great workout, the propping situation is one where as a 35 (almost 36) year old second row (wanna be 8-man) I either have to take up tennis or play prop and be quiet. Since I want to play I must prepare myself for the impact. The Good Mornings should work perfect for this.

I have played 7's in the past, and am actually pretty decent, I have played on several representative sides. But my body is wearing down and I need to rest.

The question James asks is on my mind as well, I have always heard not to sprint and lift on the same day. This was mainly from coaches who probably did not know, they were simply repeating what they heard.
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:42 AM   #15
Steve Shafley
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High intensity stressors:

-games
-heavy strength work
-plyos
-speed work

Medium to low intensity stressors

-Metcon style conditioning work
-practice

Low intensity stressors

-LSD style aerobic training
-flexibility
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:50 AM   #16
Chris Forbis
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Shaf-

Epic post. Almost enough to get me to want to play rugby... though I would need to wait until I gain another 30 pounds.
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:51 AM   #17
Steve Shafley
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I hated 7s, because by that time of the year I would be into the drinking part of my periodization.
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Old 05-03-2007, 04:52 AM   #18
Steve Shafley
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Chris, there's plenty of room on the pitch for a game player of any size.
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Old 05-03-2007, 05:47 AM   #19
Randy Little
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Since there is so much rpeparation going into this off-season I am thinking of doing a fitness test over the next week and again before the season to gauge any increase in fitness level. Are there any ideas out there for some fitness tests?

So far I have:
10-yard dash - average of 2
40- yard dash - average of 2
Crossfit Total
5 km run

Also, can you tell me what a Meton is? I can go to Crossfit and check it out I guess. Does Golf and/or sitting by the pool count as active recovery?
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Old 05-03-2007, 05:54 AM   #20
Randy Little
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One more question, if during the off-season I only have 1 practice a week that is not really conditioning, what do I do on tuesday?

SUN: OFF or active recovery
MON: Strength A + Sprint session
TUE: Probably Practice
WED: Strength B
THU: Probably Practice
FRI: Strength A + Metcon or Sled
SAT: Off or active recovery
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