Week 2: Getting a Pro Rugby Player STRONG!!!

Hello again and welcome to week two of Daniel Holdsworth’s preparation towards the 2013 Super League Season.

In this week’s blog I’m going to outline a full session for you including a video (see below link) featuring the Box Squat.
Week two has started with a bang with PB’s being set in both lower and upper body sessions so far. A 15kg increase in DJ’s Power Clean on day 1 of week 2 is a very pleasing aspect and shows strength is on the up.
Week 2 – Day 3 – Lower Body
Warm up; ART (Active Release Technique) Lower Limb mobility concentrating on ITB’s, Hip flexors, Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Lower limb dynamic stretching.
E1 – Box Squat – 10 x 3 (working up to 3RM) = 110kg (video is of 3rd last lift, for safety reasons)
E2 – Hang Clean – 6 x 3 = 95kg
E3 – Back Squat – Working up to 3RM = 140kg
E4 – Bent over row – 4 x 10 (speed) = 60kg
E5 – Walking Lunge – 3 x 20 = 17.5kg DB’s in each hand
The reason for using the Box Squat as the main exercise on this lower body day is that I believe it is one of the best exercises around for building power.

Utilising the Box Squat means breaking up concentric and eccentric phase of the movement which ensures the athlete generates all of his power from the bottom of the movement and control’s the movement past parallel on the down phase.
A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research in December 2010 titled: “Comparison of kinetic variables and muscle activity during a squat vs. a box squat.” What the study found is that box squatting was measured to produce both more force and more power than a traditional squat at certain working percentages!
The Hang Clean Is a total body exercise that produces functional athletic power through the coordinated use of the entire body.
During Monday’s session we completed the Power Clean (from the floor) so Wednesdays aim was to match the top weight from session 1. No doubt aiming for the top weight from the Power Clean whilst doing the Hang Clean was no easy task- as the athlete isn’t generating the power from the floor as you do in the Power Clean.
The Back Squat speaks for itself in regards to bang for your buck exercises and to add 15kg to this lift made me happy as a coach and the feedback from the athlete was that he felt strong whilst under the bar at 145kg’s, we are on the right track I believe in the quest for greater strength in 2013.
All in all this session compiled of 31 working sets.  Using five exercises, a fair amount of work has been carried out utilizing some higher volume during Walking Lunges at the end of the session.
A study using junior soccer players compared walking lunges, jumping lunges and a control group. The walking forward lunge group improved hamstring strength by 35 percent after just six weeks. Both the walking lunge and jumping lunge groups improved 30-meter sprint speed: the walking lunge group got significantly faster (by 2 percent) and as Rugby League is a game of inches we will take that 2% any day of the week.
In rounding up Week 2 of Training, it has been a really good one. Making gains each session and on each lift is the goal and we have defiantly put a tick next to that box. For me as a coach it’s all about progression.
Thanks very much for reading and stay tuned for more to come.
Neuromuscular Laboratory, Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA
Department of Orthopaedics, Stockholm Söder Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden