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An athlete’s guide to avoiding the flu.
November 15, 2017
Intro   Getting ill sucks! We’ve all been there, tucked up in bed shivering and feeling sorry for ourselves. Here is my guide to avoiding the flu. Nobody enjoys being ill and it can have a terrible effect on an athlete’s fitness, training and performance. Not only does having a blocked nose reduce performance, it […]
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Injury Prevention in the gym: Roy Headey

Do any of the following rugby-related comments sound familiar?

  • “There’s a gym culture in rugby that produces ‘gym monkeys’ and that’s what’s spoiling the game”
  • “Nowadays, players spend too much time in the gym and not enough time practicing skills”
  • “They’re supposed to be rugby players, not weight-lifters” 
  • “Weight training is dangerous for young players”

All of these are gross oversimplifications and in the last case, plain wrong.

Elite players certainly spend more time in the gym now than they did in the past.  But their training is more than simply about getting “bigger” (hypertrophy).  An over-emphasis on size alone can result in players who are bigger, but often fatter and slower too; they’re not much use for a dynamic game like rugby.

It’s also true that a bigger guy moving fast will exert more force in a collision than a smaller one moving at the same speed, but better conditioning and specific strength training can help players of all shapes and sizes to protect themselves against injuries.

rugby injury preventionA lot of work players do in the gym nowadays is actually improving their resistance to injury, so spending time in the gym doing the right things can have a beneficial effect.

That being said, things can go wrong in the gym if players aren’t following well-designed programmes.

Generating a muscle imbalance through poor training is a one example.  Muscles work in a complimentary fashion around joints; if there’s an imbalance in the way those muscles interact, one or more of the major muscles can exert extreme forces on a joint that is less able to protect itself.

For example, if a player does a lot of bench press work but not enough complimentary pulling and shoulder stability training, he can create instability in the shoulders that dramatically increases his predisposition to shoulder injuries.

So that’s definitely the sort of gym culture and gym monkey we don’t want to encourage.  Information is also available about strength and conditioning coaching certificates, designed to provide accessible, practical training for sports coaches in the specifics of fitness development.

Roy Headey: RFU Head of Sports Science

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London Welsh RFC
James has provided a wealth of experience and expertise to the Academy set up at London Welsh RFC in recent years. He has addressed both the physical and mental development of the players through innovative, player and position specific programmes which have resulted in each individual within the group developing towards their potential.
 
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Educational Gymnastics: 23rd November, Devon.
23 Nov 2017

Educational Gymnastics Children today are physically illiterate. The massive reduction in time spent in free play has led to a generation of people who have yet to experience the joy of movement. Formal gymnastics (as seen at the Olympics) requires the child to strive to perform very specific skills. The end product of the skill […]

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