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Introduction
LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning
Periodisation
Content
Questions

Mesocycles

Maximal strength and power mesocycle

Maximal strength is important for all players not just for successfully competing in contact activities but also for enhancing power and speed (Wilson et al 1993, Delecluse 1997, McBride et al 2002). The key focus in maximal strength development for the rugby player is the selection of multi-joint or compound exercises and lifts as well as auxiliary exercises or lifts. These lifts include the squat and variations, the lunge and its variations, the bench press and a variety of pulls such as pull-ups and bent over row. Attention to developing a strong posterior chain is also an important goal of the max strength phase. Here we also include the Olympic style lifts and their derivatives as they have been shown to be effective in enhancing athletic power (Hori et al 2005).

Given the need to ensure that power is also developed, a combination of strength and power exercises will be used in this phase of the programme. The latter phase (phase 2) of this mesocycle will concentrate specifically on the development of power in the strong and perhaps relatively slow moving player.

Max Strength & Power – Weeks 1-3
Day 1 – Monday Reps Sets

Back squat/Hex bar

6, 5, 4, 4

4

Power snatch

4, 3, 3, 3

4

Ham-glute raise

6

4

Forward lunge (BB or DB)

6

4

Hanging hip raise

12

3

Day 2 - Wednesday Reps Sets

Bench press – BB

6, 5, 4, 4

4

Pull-ups

6, 5, 4, 4 (weighted)

4

Loaded squat jump*

4, 3, 3, 3

4

Bent over row

5

4

Crunches

12

3

Day 3 - Friday Reps Sets

Power clean

4, 3, 3, 3

4

Front squat

4, 3, 3, 3

4

Push press

6

4

Step-ups

5

4

Bench pulls or seated row

5

4

* Load may be individualised to player's needs

Table 5. Phase 1 of a 6-week max strength and power programme.

Table 5 describes the exercises, reps and sets for the first phase of the 6-week max strength and power programme. Note that the frequency of training is now 3 days per week. The number of exercises completed is less than that of the hypertrophy phase. Repetition range is lower than that of the hypertrophy phase with 3 repetitions per set being common for the enhancement of near maximum strength and power. The number of sets increases to 4 but the S&C coach may adjust the set number up or down depending on the player’s needs. The load used will correspond to the relative repetition maximum (RM), for example in the back squat the player will progress from a 6RM load to a 4RM load on day 1. For the power snatch and power clean the S&C coach may opt for a progression of RM loads from 50% through to 90% of the 1RM effort. Note that we have previously noted that peak power output during the hang power clean is achieved between 50% and 90% of a 1RM power clean load (Kawamori et al 2005, 2006; Kilduff et al 2007).

During the second phase (from week 4-6) of the combined max strength and power programme, greater focus is placed on the power lifts. The set number increases to 5 for most exercises and the rep range is between 3 and 5 reps.

Max Strength & Power – Weeks 1-3
Day 1 – Monday Reps Sets

Back squat/Hex bar

5, 4, 4, 4

5

Power snatch

3, 3, 3, 3

5

Ham-glute raise

6

5

Mid-thigh hang pull

3

5

Day 2 - Wednesday Reps Sets

Bench press – BB

4, 4, 3, 3, 3

5

Clean pull

5, 4, 3, 3, 3

5

Loaded squat jump - moderate

4, 3, 3, 3, 3

5

Bent over row

5

5

Crunches

12

3

Day 3 - Friday Reps Sets

Clean pull

4, 3, 3, 3, 3

5

Loaded squat jump – light

4, 3, 3, 3, 3

5

Plyometric push-ups

5

5

Power step-ups

5

4

Table 6. Phase 2 of a 6-week max strength and power programme.

The final phase (phase 2) of this mesocycle of max strength and power is as stated a more power-focused routine. The S&C coach may wish to extend this programme to an 8 week mesocycle with an unload during the 4th week so as to allow for recovery from any accumulated fatigue.