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LTPD Pathway
Functional Screening
Anatomical Adaptation
Game Demands
Conditioning for Rugby
Periodisation in Rugby


The term Anatomical Adaptation as described by Bompa (2000) refers to the process of ‘getting ready to train’. Anatomical Adaptation focuses mainly on ensuring stability, mobility and general strength throughout the body. The exercises selected from the screen (as outlined in Table 4) can be incorporated into the Anatomical Adaptation training programme. The Anatomical Adaptation phase is the recommended starting point for conditioning players (Bompa, 2000). In the Anatomical Adaptation training programme, a variety of exercises may be used to condition the whole body. Depending on the fitness status of the players, the exercises can focus on any component of fitness or indeed a variety of components.

While core stability exercises may feature in this programme, more functional exercises and drills such as the squat and lunge movement patterns, running drills including acceleration and shuttle runs, strength dominant exercises such as squat and lunge as well as power-related exercises such as vertical and horizontal jumps can be incorporated into the programme. This phase of training is also suitable for introducing the more formal Olympic lifts. The different phases of the clean and jerk and snatch can be coached during the circuit format, as one of the exercise stations within the circuit. For example, the first pull from the floor can be an exercise within the Anatomical Adaptation circuit and the Strength and Conditioning coach can give basic instruction using an unloaded bar on this start phase of the exercise as a preparation for later development of the full technique.

A circuit format is ideal for the Anatomical Adaptation programme. During a circuit, the Strength and Conditioning coach can manipulate the intensity of the programme by making the exercise more challenging or by increasing the repetition number or the duration of exercise or by reducing the rest-recovery interval.

The video below offers a quick recap on the Anatomical Adaptation content of Rugby Ready.

Video 6