The Round up; Getting a Pro Rugby Player Strong!!!

The Round Up- Getting a Pro Rugby Player Strong!
Hello again and welcome to my blog. In this blog I’m going to cover the remaining three week block of strength training that is being used to prepare for the 2013 English Super League (Rugby League) season. Apologies, this blog is a few weeks late due to my lap top careen breaking.
This blog will include all initial and the final testing of the athlete including all strength and body fat testing to show you how we have progressed and demonstrate the huge increase in strength over our total of 6 weeks training. DJ will be returning to the Super League bigger, stronger and in better shape than ever before.
In this three week training block the goal is still strength/power, we have gone through somewhat of a de-loading phase. By this I mean the athlete hasn’t lifted the sheer amount of weight he had in weeks 1-3 but we have utilised other methods to gain strength for example squatting whilst using resistance bands during the athlete’s box squat.
De-load example;
·         Week 1-3 > Back Squat > 10 x 3 @ 140kg > Total Load = 4200kg
·         Week 4-6 > Box Squat with resistance bands > 10 x 3 @ 80kg > Total Load = 2400kg
Load differential = 1800kg
By asking the athlete how he felt after each session often the lesser load in Week 4-6 rated as high in exertion levels as the heavier load in Week 1-3.
When you add bands to the squat it ensures the top of the movement is under resistance. If you have ever used bands to squat you will know it is impossible to squat the same amount of weight as you do with a normal back squat generally starting out at around 50% less than your 3 RM back squat. It is in no way an easier option- you simply aren’t using the same amount of load therefor we can still progress without putting the body under that constant stress of really  heavy weight. As a coach I would recommend the athlete at least be able to squat 1 and a half times his/her body weight to progress onto bands or chains.
One of the strongest gyms in the world Westside Barbell often use resistance bands and the owner Louie Simmonds has said that it wouldn’t be uncommon for an athlete to add 200lbs to his/her squat with the help of resistance bands in a 12 month period. Strength = Power.
We worked really hard on our Box Squat with resistance bands performing 10 sets of 3 reps twice per week and progressing from 60kg into 85kg at the end of our three week block. Did this help the athlete build strength? Of course, because simply the results don’t lie. The athlete went from a 3RM Back Squat of 110kg at the start of the program to absolutely smashing his PB and taking his back Squat to 155kg for his 3RM. This was done through careful preparation, periodization of the program and sheer hard work.
The athlete mentioned to me after week 1 of de-loading that he was worried he hadn’t done enough work but the key is to continually progress. The most pleasing aspect for me was that every time DJ stepped into the weight room we showed some sort of progression and all numbers vastly improved.
Below I’m going to outline the strength test completed at the start of the program and then again at the end of the program;
Initial testing 16/10/2012
Final Testing 19/12/2012
Front Squat = 90kg
Front Squat = 120kg
Back Squat = 110kg
Back Squat = 155kg
Dead Lift = 110kg
Dead Lift = 140kg
Incline Bench Press = 100kg
Incline Bench Press = 110kg
Max Rep Chin up = 10
Max Rep Chin up = 19
Note; All test are 3 RM test except Chin ups.
Body Fat percentage remained  the same throughout the program which is 12% @ 97kg which I believe is just about spot on for an athlete in a contact sport.
As you can see in the above table there are some massive improvements made and all improvements are legit. The reason I mention this is because I received an email regarding a few of my other “Getting a Pro Rugby Player Strong” blogs someone pretty much calling ‘bullshit’ as to how we were progressing and that I was making up numbers etc. Which is fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion but I called this blog; Getting a Pro Rugby Player Strong for one reason, I knew that was exactly what was going to happen. I have every single movement written down including all weights lifted, half reps or full reps completed, no stone left unturned- so if you want to take a look come down to the gym and check it out.
Here is a link to 3RM Dead Lift @ 140kg on testing day;
That’s all I have time for today. Thank you very much for reading. I really look forward to seeing how DJ transfers this program onto the pitch for the 2013 season; I will be keeping a keen eye on his performances at Hull FC and so should you- follow him on twitter @djholdsworth and myself @djamo86.