Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Everyone who goes regularly to the gym and has a sporting background (as I do) carries the legacy of their originating game with them. Whether our starting point is football, gymnastics, martial arts or boxing, we all carry that sporting passion with us whenever we set out on the gym floor.
For myself, as anyone who knows me will know, my starting point and my fitness driver comes from when I was introduced to the sport of rugby as a young child. It was then, as a six year old, that I began my rugby training under the guidance of my parents and with other boys of my age.
From that point on I built my fitness, experience and appreciation of honest competition on the field, took it into my adult life and rugby went on to became an important part of my life, regardless of whether I was playing or watching the game. Today I think that if you have such a sporting passion (especially from an early age) it stays with you, whether in the foreground or background, for the rest of your life.
If you are lucky enough to discover that a gym lifestyle then becomes a part of your life your earlier sporting starting point can help guide and shape your approach to working out. For myself, as a rugby man, my background in the game has shaped how I now exercise, as well as my approach to Personal Training and how I work with clients.
For example, today I believe very much in foundation exercises and their importance in building strength and flexibility. By foundation exercises I mean those exercises that build powerful legs, a strong core and which encourage robust lung capacity. Add such exercises into your workout and you will build strength, endurance and the potential for explositivy (the ability to release energy quickly and as needed), onto which other exercises can be layered to add additional value, or to fine tune your workout objectives.
When playing rugby, those who do so need to be strong to deal with the challenges of other players and to be able to push on when forced back physically by an opposing team. That means having a poweful frame and the muscle mass to resist such challenges and to avoid the potential injury that can sometimes come with them.
Training to add that powerful frame builds the character and mental resilience required to play rugby and deal with such challenges, which is also an important part of the training process. The building of such a powerful frame involves focussing on the legs, chest and shoulders, because without having potential power in these major muscle groups you can end up being pushed over very easily on the field.
The other key part of playing rugby well is in the ability, even with such mass as above, to move quickly with sudden bursts of energy when so required to score or to chase down opposing players who also want to score. So you have to be able to move from a standing stop to do this successfully, which means being able to explode with energy and to direct this energy into your forward motion.
Balancing this ability with a powerful frame and the mass you need to protect yourself on the field is a tough ask, but not an impossible one if you combine the right exercises with a realistic diet and enough rest and recuperation. Get this tried and tested balance right and you will succeed on the field and also on the gym floor (if you are looking for such a combination of strength and explositivity in your workout).
Everyone who comes from a sporting background brings their own spin to their preferred workout and we can all learn from each other when exercising at the gym. For myself, rugby is my cornerstone and guide and it has delivered real results for me over the years since I started playing the game as a child.
So, if you want to learn how rugby and the principles that underpin it can help you in your workout, just ask and I would be more than happy to show you how to be a tough player both on and off the field.