At Back2Fitness Physiotherapy, Massage and Performance clinics, we have (along with all rugby fans) been waiting for the Six Nations 2016, and this weekend it starts with the Calcutta Cup returning to Edinburgh in what is a very highly anticipated match. With many pundits giving Scotland a 50/50 chance after the fantastic display in the World Cup, expectations are high.
As a former professional rugby player (plagued with injuries galore), these are the days that I reminisce and think that ‘I could still do that’, although my body is saying ‘time to wake up’. Having spoken to many rugby fans and players at all levels (many of who we work with) I know more than a few others are also thinking “I could do that as well!”.
So what does it take to be a Professional rugby player competing at the highest International level?
Lets examine the physical attributes needed to compete as this level.
Rugby Union is a sport requiring agility, speed, strength and stamina as well as a bit of skill. Not for the faint hearted, it requires all of these physical attributes, as well as the ability to concentrate and mentally process every changing situation as they happen throughout the whole game. We have all seen teams unable to ‘see out games’ or lead against stronger sides, yet falter in the last 10 to 15 minutes.
This can be attributed to both physical and mental fitness.
Physical fitness and conditioning in team sports must be individualised, as in all sports. All positions require differing characteristics and differing physical attributes, this is no more evident than in rugby. To condition the whole team equally the same would be detrimental to the squad. The same philosophy is used in every sport I work in. This way performances improve and injuries are reduced. Working with managers and coaches, I know my role as a Physiotherapist and Performance Coach is to insure that the players are available for selection and that they are able to perform at the highest level.
Assessment in order to identify current issues, reduce the chances of injury (specific prehabilitation to the individual), recovery strategies and nutrition all play a huge role. At Back2Fitness we ensure that this same Philosophy is implemented when working with an elite athlete or an individual who wants just to get fitter. The key is often in educating the player or client. By understanding what the issues are, what you need to do and how you are going to do it, individuals have a key role in their own performance, prevention and recovery strategies. Long gone are days when you should get told to do it without any understanding of why.
By knowing the reasons why, you are more inclined to do.
So for all those individuals who are curious about what physical attributes are required, the following are the specific attributes that each Springbok requires for his position (courtesy of the SARFU).
See how you match up:
|POSITION||Body Fat (%)||Vertical Jump (mm)||10m Sprint(secs)||40m Sprint(secs)||Bleep test(level)|
|Inside backs||< 9||65||1.65||5.25||13.5|
|Outside backs||< 9||68||1.68||5.10||13.5|
|POSITION||Bench Press(kg/kg.bw)||Squat(kg/kg.bw)||3km run(min/sec)||Repeated Sprints (m)|