by Tom Billups, C.S.C.S.
I have been involved in physical preparation for over twenty years. During this time, I have received hundreds of questions pertaining to strength and conditioning. Recently a question about “how to begin a strength and conditioning program” came from a www.rugbyrugby.com reader.
In the information age, it is easy to become lost in the volumes of strength and conditioning literature available. I’ll take this opportunity to recommend one of the best, well-rounded strength and conditioning books published. This is not a rugby specific strength and conditioning manual, but rather a scientific based offering that has proven to be successful. No snake oil, just detailed information focused on developing athletes to their full potential.
The focus of the book is on the body’s core, abdominals, lower back, hips, and thighs. The muscle groups that all rugby players should be prioritizing.
The author, Mark Verstegen, is the owner of the highly successful training centers, Athletes’ Performance, this book is entitled Core Performance (Rodale, 2003). Core Performance contains Verstegen’s philosophy and plans for getting the most out of your training time. His training plans place a premium on the most important aspects of physical preparation and are applicable for athletes of any sport.
An additional benefit of this book is the sequenced photos that bring to life the activities assisting the reader in understanding how an exercise or activity is to be performed. These photos, in conjunction with a sample training schedule and workout sheets, make this one of the best resources available for young athletes just beginning to strength train or mature athletes who want to get back into the game.
Verstegen’s philosophy behind the core approach to training is detailed, actual core workouts, and a nutritional plan, stating how and what to eat.
So if you have never darken the door of a weight room, or are seeking a fresh approach at getting ready for the upcoming rugby season, this book is a great piece of continuing education.
Tom Billups began his rugby career in 1984 and has spent time as a player in New Zealand (Bay of Plenty), the U.S. (The Old Blues), England (London Harlequins), and Wales (Pontypridd) for domestic teams as well as representing the U.S.A. at international tournaments with the Eagles. After hanging up his boots, Billups got into coaching leading the Eagles and now with University of California – Berkeley. Read the entire bio of Tom Billups as well as Billups first column My Rugby Path and then check out what Billups is saying about the game of rugby in The Billups Column on Rugby Rugby.
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