Springbok kit sponsors ASICS provide some training tips for forwards, backs and centres.
A lot of forwards focus on the ‘big guns’ – the arms and shoulders. But the most important muscles for rucking and mauling are your core and back muscles.
Focus your gym training on compound exercises – the ones that involve a number of different muscles – like squats or deadlifts.
These are great for building full body strength and work a number of different muscles with a single exercise.
While you’re building your strength, don’t forget your endurance – particularly if you’re a back row forward as you’ll be covering 7-8km a game often in short, sharp sprints.
So mix up your training with intense, short sprints followed by your strength training with no rest in between the two.
Speed is a prerequisite for any back, but you also need great agility if you’re going to take your game to the next level and side-step defenders at will.
Here’s a really handy drill to help you develop your agility – it’s known as the ‘Malcolm’ and was used by the British & Irish Lions in the build-up to their successful tour in 2013:
- Place three cones in a straight line around 10m apart and lie face-down on the middle cone
- Get up and sprint to the cone in front and lie down again
- Get up, turn and run to the furthest cone and lie down
- Get up, turn and run back to the middle cone where you started
That’s one set done. Try to do six sets continuously to build up your agility.
Make sure you also add in plenty of running into your training to build up your fitness and mix it up with interval training to keep your speed up.
When you’re playing at 9 or 10 you need the best of both worlds – as well as taking a number of big hits you’ll also need to cover a lot of ground.
So focus on your agility, coordination and leg speed. A great way to do this is to do circuit training.
Try 20 of the following as your circuit:
- Heel flicks
- Knee raises
- Bouncing foot twists
- Split jumps
- Tuck jumps
And don’t forget to put in some hours at the gym working on your core and back, so you’re ready to take the hits in the big game.