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Training a union prop.

Sticky

Active member
I have started training a union prop that unusually plays loose and tight head. He is about 6'1, 115kg, fairly muscular and 31yo.
He wants have the edge over the other props, and has come to us to increase his field strength and conditioning.

To be honest, I think union is a silly game, and know little about the roles of each player.
After a long chat with Neil about the game, and what he is expected to do, we have some idea on which direction his training need to be pointed in.

From Wiki:
Quote:
The props "prop up" the hooker in the scrum.[27] They form part of the front row of the scrum and push against the oppositions props. The loosehead prop is positioned to the left of the hooker and their head will be on the outside of the scrum when it engages. The tighthead is to the right of the hooker with their head positioned between the opposition hooker and the opposition loosehead prop.[27] The prop's main role is to provide stability at the scrum and support the hooker in quickly winning the ball.[95] At the lineout the prop's role is to support the jumper as they compete for the ball. They are usually positioned at the front of the lineout with a jumper in between them. They are also often involved in lifting jumpers when receiving kick-offs.[92] While scrummaging is still seen as their main responsibility, modern props are also expected to contribute in attack and defence.[95]
Props have to take in pressure from the locks and loose forwards pushing from behind and the opposition pushing against them, so they are often among the strongest players in a team. Some of the more successful props have short necks and broad shoulders to absorb this force as well as powerful legs to drive the scrum forward.[95] Since the game has become professional non-specialist props or hookers cannot play in the front row. If, through sendings-off or injuries, a team does not have enough specialist front row players, the scrums become 'uncontested' (i.e. no pushing is allowed and the team putting the ball into the scrum wins it).[93] On their own scrum the loosehead's role is to provide the hooker with a clear view to strike the ball while the tighthead tries to keep the scrum stable.[96] When the opposition is putting the ball in the tighthead attempts to disrupt the opposing hooker or loosehead, making it difficult for them to win the ball. The loosehead is generally the stronger of the two props.[96]


Quote:
Responsibilities

[edit]In the Scrum
Support the hooker
Push back the other team
Hold the front row together

[edit]In Open Play
Follow the ball, in order to support the runner
Mark and tackle the other team's big players
Be active in the ruck
Be ready to run the ball into the other team's defense

[edit]In Lineouts
Lift the lock into the air
Be ready to stop the other team if they steal the throw-in


Some points that Neil made:
- Need to be very fast over 0-20m
- Need to be very strong and tight when locked in a scrum.
- Props are responsible for the first big drive in the scrum, so explosive power is essential.
- After the initial drive the props then act as link for their teams power to drive the scrum toward the opposition. This is tough on the prop as they can buckle, dive down or pop up out of the scrum.

We will do some work with:
Powerlifts - Working mostly in 5's and 3's
Prowler sprints - undecided whether to go max weight for 10m under 15sec, or lighter weight but faster sprints (see football players adding weight to ankle to increase kicking power)
Yoke runs - heavy between 10-15sec to provide brutal core strength and down right badassness
Water filled keg or sandbag press - working on 3's, 5's and 8's to assist in lifting the lock.

He does plenty of scrum work at training so I really only need to take care of his strength and conditioning.

We will test the progress with his sprint speeds over various distances, weights moved, and his training/on-field performance.

I'll log our training sessions in here incase we have any props lurking the forum.
 
Last edited:

Sticky

Active member
Neil has done 2 sessions thus far.
Session 1 we talked about his lifting and injury history.

He has been lifting for 3 years, has just finished his ankle rehab after a nasty break, and carrys an SI injury like myself.

We went over technique and lots of lower mobility work.

Session 2,
I was happy with how he was going (having lifted for 3 years prior), so we did some maximal testing.
Squat 140
Bench 110
Deadlift 182.5
Prowler with 100kg 15m in 5.3 seconds
Could not lap the 100kg atlas stone.
 
Last edited:

Sticky

Active member
Neil's programming looks fun on paper, I certainly enjoyed writing it, but I'm sure it's going to be hated by him.

Things we are focusing on-
Power production
Speed
Conditioning
Strength (especially through the PC)
Mobility
Stability

We only have 2 days in the gym, so we need to find a good balance between working hard, and working too hard.

Neil is a dentist by day, trains with me 2 days, trains with the team 2 days, and a game in Sunday.
Neil is in season at the moment, but playing 3 grades below his ability because if his ankle.
He calls them "muck around games".
 

TrentZor

Member
Good luck with this interesting to see how it pans out.

I've found the hardest thing is to balance atm with my guys is.

1. Recovery while in season with their gym time
2. Weight gained off season then trying to get to a weight in season where it does not effect his agility / speed and endurance.

Will be following


cheers
trent
 

Sumo

New member
Neil's programming looks fun on paper, I certainly enjoyed writing it, but I'm sure it's going to be hated by him.

Things we are focusing on-
Power production
Speed
Conditioning
Strength (especially through the PC)
Mobility
Stability

We only have 2 days in the gym, so we need to find a good balance between working hard, and working too hard.

Neil is a dentist by day, trains with me 2 days, trains with the team 2 days, and a game in Sunday.
Neil is in season at the moment, but playing 3 grades below his ability because if his ankle.
He calls them "muck around games".

What does "strength through the PC" mean mate?
By the way I am sure god in his infinite mercy will forgive you for calling "Union a silly game" lol
Should be very interesting to see how he goes
 

JazDSpaz

Tough Mudder in training
What does "strength through the PC" mean mate?
By the way I am sure god in his infinite mercy will forgive you for calling "Union a silly game" lol
Should be very interesting to see how he goes

I'm guessing it means powerclean?
 

TLS

New member
Posterior chain.
Also these guys spend a lot of time with some hip flexion while developing power through glutes (body parallel to ground while driving forward.) So need hammy flexibility and ankle dorsiflexion (? Pointing toes to face).
I see (heavy and fast) UDLs in his future.
 

dave

Anonymous User
Important ability: Get up and down quickly and frequently tackle each up phase. Could be fun to torture him with this for conditioning.
 

Sticky

Active member
Sumo, I told him union is a silly game lol. I just don't get it, therefore making it silly.
PC = posterior chain.

As TLS said, Neil spends a lot of time with his back parallel to the floor.
At the start he is the explosion/ creator of inertia, but then acts as the link betweenhis teams power and the opposition.

Neil has tight hammies/glutes and it's something we are working on.

The low handle of the prowler has perfect angles of his position.
 

DKD

Private Dancer
The props most important function is to be a solid ass immoveable object in the scrum. Picture 2 battering rams. He needs to be able to push forward with more force (that's what she said) than the opposing prop. Not sure what exercises help with that, but I'm sure you'll get it sorted for him. Interesting thread!
 

Sumo

New member
Thanks Scott

PC = Posterior Chain

Can't beleive I didnt pick that up lol - getting slow in my old age.
 

SWH

New member
Interesting thread. Being a rugby player myself this might be interesting to note from
 

Sticky

Active member
What sort of standard is he playing? Amateur or semi pro?

2nd grade at the moment, but we are aiming for premier grade.

Hey Scott,

Right now I'm second grade. *When I'm fit I'm told I'll be starting for reserves, but with a bit of work I think I can get into the premier grade.

Realistically pro rugby is out of the question at my age. *But I would like to play premier grade, that's the level I was playing in Ireland but you can be competitive in Ireland without too much strength/conditioning. Here I could be playing against contracted players (pros) week in, week out. The two props playing prems for the club at the moment are australian u20s players. *

At best I probably have 4-5 seasons left, just want to go out on top if possible! And maybe pick up some good habits for when rugby is no more. *Get strong and fit and see where it takes me.
 

Spitzy

New member
Sounds like he's motivated, which is always a good thing. Will be interesting to see his progress. All the best
 

0ni

Registered Rustler
I play Rugby and the best way to go about this is to get him as strong and fast as possible. If he is squatting 300kg and doing box squats with 150kg + bands as well as a 6 second 50 meters I doubt a lot of shit would get in his way
 

SWH

New member
I play Rugby and the best way to go about this is to get him as strong and fast as possible. If he is squatting 300kg and doing box squats with 150kg + bands as well as a 6 second 50 meters I doubt a lot of shit would get in his way

What position do you play?
 
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