Posts Tagged ‘conditioning.’

Aberdeenshire RFC Team Building Preseason

Friday, August 14th, 2015

I had an absolute blast at the start of the month as I was tasked with providing the conditioning element of the ‘shire team building day. Preseason is always a busy and fun time for a strength & conditioning coach, and one of the best parts of my job is providing on-field conditioning. While each conditioning session has a purpose and scientific underpinning in the work: rest ratios we select, I have to admit: the team building day was much more about creating camaraderie through overcoming adversity. And creating that adversity was my task :) . As expected all the boys showed relentless tenaciousness and conquered every single challenge I set them making for a fantastic day and hopefully a fantastic season ahead. I’m extremely proud of all the boys for their effort and what they were able to accomplish that day. #shirestrong


S&C for Rugby: a snap shot

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

 In rugby there are many different elements of physical fitness that need to be developed, and (depending on player training age) a conjugate style of training can be used effectively within season to ensure progress is achieved. The video below is a good example of a conjugate style of training.

Enjoy :-)


A Grapplers Beginning

Monday, January 30th, 2012

  As I alluded to in my last post; I’ve been taking on more grapplers than rugby players recently and I have to say it’s a different kind of animal. Principles and science remain the same; however, the psyche of a grappler is unparalleled which means the way in which I deliver sessions are slightly different. This is the art of strength and conditioning. Beyond the psychological make-up is a unique physiological challenge – fighters seem to bend differently. Maybe it’s all those ‘triangles’ and hip popping ‘arm bars’, one thing is for sure: it makes for interesting exercise selection. Again, part of the art of strength and conditioning.

For those of you interested there will be a series which breaks down the science (and art) of training grapplers in future months, which will of course include profiling. For now, I thought I’d show you some of the things I’ve been doing with two new recruits; a wrestler and a judoka.

Four Steps to Increase Athleticism

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Last year I wrote a series of articles titled ‘Athletic Development’. The series provides a guide to training with an emphasis on performance. If you are not an Olympian then the chances are you are not anywhere near your genetic athletic potential,  and while the series isn’t about taking an average Joe and turning him into Chris Hoy, it is about taking an individual and aiding their knowledge – allowing them to maximize their potential!

 Have a read through the articles and apply the basic template into your regime.

Athletic Development: The Posterior Chain
This article is all about the hamstrings, glutes and lower back.
Athletic Development: The Kinetic Chain
In the second post of the series the whole body, working as one (efficiently), is discussed.
Athletic Development: Muscle Armour
This article is all about muscle building.
Athletic Development: Conditioning
The final article of the series deals with the broad topic of conditioning.

The ‘Athletic Development’ series will give you a good base to work from so don’t be affraid to try something new.


6 Pack Attack: FAQ

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

How many times a week should I do the circuit part of the challenge?
Unfortunately I can’t give a straight answer here because it entirely depends on what your training regime is like. There are several ways you could train to improve the circuit aspect of the 6 Pack Attack. First, if you do whole body training sessions, you could use the exercises in the circuit and perform them with multiple sets, just like any other session. Alternatively, you could add in the circuit as a “finisher” at the end of one of your sessions.

Second, you could use the circuit as a “conditioning day” in your weekly training cycle. This will be great for helping with the aesthetics of the challenge. Simply perform the circuit, take a good rest and repeat. It could look something like this:

Week 1: 3 circuits (3mins recovery)
Week 2: 2 circuits (3mins recovery)
Week 3: 4 circuits (3mins recovery)
Week 4: 3 circuits (3mins recovery)

The following month you could manipulate the recovery times. Again, adding a conditioning day will depend on your normal training schedule; however, it is something I intend to do closer to D-Day (I’ll add a “conditioning day” in March and work on getting a good time for a month).

The third way to incorporate the circuit (or get better at it) into your training week is to perform the exercises in your regular sessions. That is what I am currently doing. I have the exercises in my program and throughout a microcyle (which normally means a training week, but is only five days for me at the moment) I will encounter the exercises. For example, my training session today includes front squats with an Olympic grip. Now, I am not performing 60kg front squats into press; however I will be training font squats with the grip I need for the challenge, and so improving my strength with that specific movement will make 60kg feel easy on the day. Similarly, yesterday I had pull ups in my training. This will carry over to the challenge and make things easier.

There you have it. Give one of the above suggestions a try (the way I’m doing it right now is probably your best bet…but I’m bias) and remember that we’ve got a good bit of time to achieve the high standard to pass the challenge.

What if I can do all the exercises, but I need three or four sets for some of it?
That’s absolutely fine. It takes you as long as it takes you. If this is the case then I would recommend following the third suggestion above so that your strength improves for the big day. Remember we’ve got all of February and March.

What is a power up?
A power up is an explosive bodyweight exercise that is a favourite of mine. You can see an example in the video below.

Is the hanging leg raises with straight legs or knees bent?
The hanging leg raise will be performed with straight legs. To build up to this exercise you could perform hanging knee raises, which is the same movement only with a 90° angle at the knee.

6 Pack Attack:The Challenge

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

6 Exercises       +        60 Reps     +      6 Minutes        =        6 Pack

To read about the background of the 6 Pack Attack click here.

The below exercises are to be completed in circuit fashion with bodyweight as resistance unless stated otherwise.  There is no limit to how many breaks can be taken; however, ten repetitions must be completed on an exercise before moving on.  The total time taken has to be less than 7 minutes.

The exercises are:

  1. Pull Up
  2. Hanging Leg Raise
  3. Front Squat into Press (60kg)
  4. Roll Out (40kg)
  5. Power Up
  6. Clap Press Up

There are three reasons I came up with the above as the performance goal for the 6 Pack Attack challenge:

  1. All of the group can perform each exercise with the loadings prescribed before starting the challenge. However, everyone can not complete the exercises in one set and certainly not in circuit fashion. For example, I might need to perform the ten reps of Front Squat into Press over two sets with five reps each. Similarly, Joe might need to take two sets to complete the pull ups. That said; with the time limit each contender will most likely need to complete each exercise for the prescribed reps with only one attempt.
  2.  There will be no sacrifice of muscle. It would be all too easy to run your way to a six pack and neglect everything else. That isn’t something that appeals to me. I need to remain strong and powerful for Judo.  To pass the challenge a person will need to have some basic strength and power (as well as the obvious cardiovascular endurance).
  3. It’s about performance. I’ve never really trained for aesthetics. Instead I have always enjoyed the aesthetic benefits that come with focusing on performance. With the addition of a performance goal the 6 Pack Attack will have an element of objectivity. Beyond that, it will add a gauge on how we, the contenders, have progressed.

As I alluded to, the details of the challenge were thought-out with the specific contenders in mind – to make it tough, but achievable. Of course, I want you to get involved! The above challenge won’t be suitable for everyone and trust me; I have more than enough variations of exercises that I can suggest for your own individual challenge. If that’s the case then let me know.


  • Complete the timed circuit in less than 7 minutes
  • Have the abs on display
  • All before the end of April

Sounds simple….

Bounce Week Time Saver Part 3

Friday, May 14th, 2010

As you know by now this week is an unscheduled and non programmed bounceweek in my training (which is a rare occurrence). Today was more of a ‘cardio’ day and I decided to head up to St Andrews and bust out a body weight conditioning session. Admittedly I had more time to train today; however, I was still set on doing a short, sharp and effective workout.

Here is what went on today:

Press ups x 10
Mountain Climbers x 10 each side
Single Leg Squats x 5 each side
Burpees x 10
Press ups x 10
V ups x 10
X band Walks x 10 each side

I completed this 6 times taking 30 seconds rest in between circuits. Then I moved on to 6Om temp runs using a variation of the ‘TABATA PROTOCOL’.
To do the temp runs simply find a 6Om space and get from the start to the finish in 10secs. Then wait 10secs and go again until you have completed four minutes.
Sound easy? Remember the aim is to consistently cover the 6Om in 10seconds or less…


Train Hard,