Rugby Training: Has anything really changed?

We now live in a completely different world to what we did 30 years ago. Although we still have access to books, scholarly articles and magazines to get our information. Trainers, coaches and athletes have instant access to training information through phones, tablets and laptops. Through the click of a screen or tap of button there are thousands, if not millions of articles and videos available on a huge array of subjects such as weight lifting, conditioning, nutrition and speed training.

Does quick accessibility mean improved results?

Back in the early 90s trainers relied on books, word of mouth and hands on experiments in order to develop programmes and exercises. The internet was none existent, coaches did what had to be done and it worked successfully.

So, back to the present day of having more information at your finger tips than a coach 20 years ago could only dream of. Surely everything should be better now?

Have you heard of the phrase, ‘If it isn’t broken, then don’t change it’? With that though in mind, have athletes really evolved that much over the last 20 years?

Watch this video from David Epstein, it really is an eye opener on how athletes have evolved over the years.

Why change it?

After watching that video, has training changed? Or do we just have a need to change anything that seems ‘outdated’ to make room for more modern ‘innovative’ approaches and technologies?

Ask any rugby player from the 80s and early 90s and they will tell you that their strength and conditioning programme included:

·      Plyometrics
·      Powerlifts
·      Olympic lifts
·      Interval running
·      Speed drills
·      Training until muscular fatigue
·      Rugby league specific exercises and drills

 I recently spoke with Huddersfield Giants and England international winger Jermaine McGillvary to ask what his programme includes at the Giants, and he confirmed that all the above are included in the clubs’ programmes that they use each week.

Same Training Different Name

The training our rugby league players were doing 20 years ago is still being done today. The truth is, fancier names and equipment have been used, but the core principles for strength and conditioning remain the same. Just as David Epstein explained in the video above, equipment, competition venues and other technology have had bigger impacts than advances in exercises.

Rugby league players push their bodies to the limits, they follow a plan and use the correct methods and techniques to enhance their performance. Just like they did 20 years ago.

 
Austen Barrowclough is the owner of Ekspert Sports Performance

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