International rugby demands a unique mix of speed, strength, power and lean muscle, alongside the ability to take a hit and recover fast. With the Six Nations kicking off this weekend, Coach’s sister publication Men’s Fitness speaks with members and staff of the Welsh national team to help you stay on top form.
- What You Can Learn From The Welsh Rugby Team’s Training
- Step 2: Go To Nutrition School
- Step 3: Build Functional Muscle
- Step 4: Recover Like A Champ
You can’t win if you don’t show up. Make sure you’re in the game every week by recovering fast and stopping injuries before they start
Pack On Armour
Remember, you aren’t building muscle just for show. “We do a lot of back squats, but it’s not just about getting strong – it’s about strengthening the muscles around the area and making the guys resilient to injury,” says Huw Bennett, a former Wales international who’s now a strength and conditioning coach for the team. “It’s about making sure the guys don’t break up. We’ll do unilateral work too – single-leg moves to make their mechanics more efficient and make them less injury-prone.”
Keep Your Calves Fresh
“They’re the muscle where the guys accumulate a lot of tissue build-up from running,” says John Ashby, another member of the Wales S&C team. “We’ll get them doing dynamic stretching pre-game, then static stretching and foam rolling post game.” Get a roller for your calves and do five to ten rolls on each calf after every legs workout. You’ll reap the mobility benefits.
And Remember To Sleep
“We talk about ‘sleep hygiene’ with the players a lot,” says sports scientist Ryan Chambers. “Staying off the tea and coffee for six hours before bed, investing in some blackout blinds, getting a good-quality mattress. We’ve looked at research about night owls vs morning larks and when people perform best – there’s not much you can do about it on a rugby schedule, but you can experiment with working out at different times and keeping track of your energy levels to see what works.”
Under Armour athletes Rhys Webb and Dan Lydiate were speaking during the launch of the inaugural Under Armour Series, which showcased how they manage their training using UA RECORD™ app. To find out more visit record.underarmour.com (opens in new tab).
From 2008 to 2018, Joel worked for Men's Fitness, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Though he spent years running the hills of Bath, he’s since ditched his trainers for a succession of Converse high-tops, since they’re better suited to his love of pulling vans, lifting cars, and hefting logs in a succession of strongman competitions.
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