drawings of muscles and exercise apparatus

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Daniel Vickerman rates MyoQuip strength machines as "absolutely fantastic"

Dan Vickerman is recognised as one of the top lineout forwards in world rugby. Born in South Africa, he has the unusual distinction of having represented both South Africa and Australia at the Under-21 level. In 2002 he made his debut for the Wallabies against France, going on to make 55 Test appearances. He played Super Rugby with the ACT Brumbies from 2001 to 2003 and the NSW Waratahs from 2004 to 2008.

Having been forced to study online throughout his first degree, a Bachelor of Financial Planning through Open Universities Australia (RMIT), he responded to the opportunity to study at Cambridge by suspending his international rugby career to enjoy the luxury of full time study. He is now reading for a degree in Land Economy at Cambridge's Hughes Hall.

At 204cm, Dan's limb geometry is unsuited for exercises such as the squat. Not surprisingly he acknowledges that "I have suffered from back injuries in the past due to the nature of some exercises in the gym." In fact, a very high proportion of professional rugby forwards avoid squatting because of back problems.

Fortunately, for the past four seasons both in the Waratah's gym and at Camp Wallaby at Coff's Harbour, Vickerman has had access to the MyoQuip ScrumTruk which he describes as "an asset to me during my rugby career." Recently, when forced by injury to take a break from national representation after the Super 14 Final, he went back to his club, Sydney University, to undertake rehabilitation with strength and conditioning guru Martin Harland. At the Uni gym he made extensive use of both the ScrumTruk and the HipneeThrust lying leg press before setting off for Cambridge.

"For me the two machines, the ScrumTruk and the HipneeThrust, have been absolutely great," Vickerman says. "The use of these machines gives the ability to build strength without putting strain on one's lower back. As a forward the strength gained transfers well onto the field due to their practicality and specificity to what we do during the game."

(The Sydney University gymnasium has now replaced its ScrumTruk and HipneeThrust machines with the more advanced MyoTruk and MyoThrusta)


Monday, January 05, 2009

The essence of rugby

Rugby football is a game I can't claim absolutely to understand in all its niceties, if you know what I mean. I can follow the broad, general principles, of course. I mean to say, I know that the main scheme is to work the ball down the field somehow and deposit it over the line at the other end, and that, in order to squelch this programme, each side is allowed a certain amount of assault and battery and do things to its fellow-man which, if done elsewhere, would result in fourteen days without the option, coupled with some strong remarks from the Bench.

P.G. Wodehouse, Very Good, Jeeves, 1930

Friday, January 02, 2009

Rugby scrum mechanics, technique and strength training: links to articles

[Summary: Here is a collection of links to articles, posts and web pages about rugby scrum technique and strength training. Arranged alphabetically by title, each of them conforms to the commons principle by being freely available for viewing without payment and by not being password-protected.]

"Andy Sheridan - an aberration or is prodigious strength the future of rugby?" Bruce Ross
"[Andy Sheridan's] example suggests that players with appropriate genetic endowment can achieve massive strength specific to the demands of their sport through the long term application of strength training techniques. However, in order to do so, these players currently have to almost defy the rugby world's orthodoxy in relation to strength and conditioning."
MyoQuip Blog

"Assessment of scrummaging performance" Stuart Mills and Paul Robinson
"with the new era of professional rugby and an increased scientific approach, rugby clubs should evaluate the validity of the physical tests they currently use and consider adopting rugby specific tests that measure scrummaging performance directly. This would increase confidence in the validity of the test data and result in the real weaknesses being addressed, thereby improving the preparation of players for competition."
Coaches' Infoservice

"The attacking scrum" Angus Baker
"the scrum, if applied correctly, becomes an essential attacking platform to the modern game and maximises attacking options."

"Body height in the rugby scrum: the value of equal hip and knee joint angles" Bruce Ross
"an optimal configuration of body position and limb alignment on engagement involves hip and knee angles each set at 90° with both trunk and shank being parallel to the ground. During the scrum, hip and knee joints should move synchronously so that their angles remain equal."

"Building the scrum" Graham Smith
"A dominant scrummage ... not only provides your team with excellent possession, but it is also a vehicle which can exhaust the opposition pack, and demotify and dispirit the opposition backs, for they will always be on the back foot, always under pressure."

"The guru and the scrum
"No foot in the scrum should move from its starting position. The way your feet are before you actually engage is the way they must stay so you do not get a destabilised scrum as players try to readjust their feet."

"Introducing the ScrumTruk rugby strength builder" Bruce Ross
"In exercising with ScrumTruk, the lower spine adopts moderate curvature necessary for effective pushing and avoidance of lower back strain. This
position also triggers isometric contraction of the stabilising muscles of the pelvic and abdominal regions."
MyoQuip Blog

"The mechanics of the scrum and implications for the role of the tight head prop, right lock and right flanker." David Docherty
"An important aspect of scrummaging is understanding the way in which the scrum will tend to move or wheel and how it can used to advantage or needs to be resisted."
Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union

"Prop-specific strength training at the shove" Conrad Comer
"It cannot be over-stressed how important it is for players in such a vulnerable position to train through the full range of movement."

"Scrum mechanics, technique and problem solving - or, helping the 'girls' understand the 'dark arts.'" Mark Calverley
"In this article I am ... trying to apply mechanics to the scrum, but without using biomechanics jargon."

"Scrums - have we got it right?" Andrew Beattie
"about 8.3 minutes of a game of Rugby Union is devoted to scrums."

"Static neck stretches"
"simple exercises ... will develop the neck muscles and help against the chance of doing irreparable damage during a game or training."

"The scrum" Martin Hynes
"Squat weight-lifting principles are very important in scrummaging and a player's basic technique can be checked in weight training ... or simply by getting the player to hold a stick across his shoulders so that he can demonstrate his squat style/technique."

"The Scrum" Matt Ryan
"it is my belief that you should not be coaching Rugby Union unless you can coach a safe scrum collapse procedure. This is an extremely dangerous part of the game."
Singapore Rugby Union Technical Director

"Tight five
scrummaging - it's all about body shape
" Mark Bell
"This discussion paper will address the role of the tight five and identify how good body shape and correct scrummaging can significantly reduce the fatigue caused to players by scrummaging."

"Total impact method: a variation on engagement technique in the rugby scrum" Doug McClymont
"The principle of conservation of momentum ensures that the pack that is moving faster at impact will apply a greater force, and that pack will tend
to maintain its position rather than being moved back."
Coaches' Infoservice

I would be grateful for any suggestions of other articles that could be added to this list or for any comments on any of the articles.