Programming for Speed and Power

TAGS: Programming for Speed and Power, speed and power, 12-week program, Rugby, Ashley Jones

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I recently received a request from a colleague to develop a 12-week speed and power program for a rugby player wishing to play in veterans over 30 Rugby 7’s. What I wrote for him, featured in this article, can be used by anyone wishing to prioritize the physical elements of speed and power.

Weekly Plan

  • Monday: Speed and Gym-Based Lower Body
  • Tuesday: Metabolic Circuit, Upper Body, and Repeated Speed
  • Wednesday: Recovery and Regeneration
  • Thursday: Speed and Gym-Based Lower Body
  • Friday: Metabolic Circuit, Upper Body, and Repeated Speed

Gym-Based Strength and Power

Lower Body Training

Do this immediately after speed where possible.

Monday (Week 1)

  • Peak Power Movement — 3 x 2 with 80%

superset with

  • Repeated Hurdle Jumps  3 x 5

Ensure that the hurdles are not too high to compromise technique. And to ensure you are getting quickness off the ground and not dwelling between jumps, remember it is always knees to chest, not chest to knees.

  • Peak Force Option — 3 x 2 with 87.5%

superset with

  • Seated Box Jumps — 3 x 5

Prowler or Sled Acceleration — 5 x 10 meters (Rest periods are the same as strength training: rest 60–90 seconds between reps on the low end and three minutes at the high end)

Monday (Week 2)

  • Heavy Prowler Acceleration — 5 x 10 meters

superset with

  • Repeat Long Jumps — 5 x 5
  • Peak Force Option — 4 x 3 with 90%
  • Hip Extension Option — 3 x 8

Monday (Week 3)

  • Peak Power Movement — 5 x 3 with 85–90%

superset with

  • Depth Jump — 5 x 3 (Use a box equal to the height of your counter-movement jump)
  • Peak Force Movement — 5 x 2 with 90%

contrast with

  • Jump Squats — 5 x 5 with 25–40%

I would consider these to be the best exercises to use in each of the categories, to ensure you get the most bang for your buck:

Peak Power

  • Power Snatch
  • Snatch Pull from Blocks
  • Jump Squat
  • Hang Clean
  • Trap Bar Jump Shrug

Peak Force

  • Back Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Box Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Trap Bar Deadlift

Hip Extension

  • RDL
  • Reverse Hyper
  • Hip Thrust
  • Glute Ham Raise

Thursday (loading patterns below)

  • 1 x Olympic/Triple Extension Movement
  • 1 x Peak Force Movement (Squat or Deadlift Focus)
  • 1 x Hip Extension Movement
  • 1 x Single-Leg Movement
  • 1 x Core Movements

Below are my best movements to train your core.

Loaded

  • Suitcase Deadlift
  • Half Turkish Get-Up
  • KB Windmill
  • Full Body Twist
  • Angled Press While Kneeling on Opposite Knee to Arm

Unloaded

  • Barbell Rollouts
  • Sprinter’s Sit-Up (Sit up and grasp one knee while alternating legs, holding the other leg straight and off the ground)
  • Hanging Leg Raises
  • Palloff Presses With Bands or TRX

Prehabilitation sequence detailed below

  • 3 x 5 Nordic Drops (Increase one rep each week)
  • 2 x 10 Single Leg RDL (Weight held in opposite hand to working leg)
  • 2 x 20 Seconds Swiss Ball Heel Hit Lying in Supine Position on Floor (Lying on your front, have someone hold a swiss ball in the small of your lower back and alternate your heels kicking the ball for 20 seconds for as many kicks as you can.)
  • 2 x 20 Single-Leg Calf Raise

Primary Loading Exercises

  • Week 1: 4 x 6 with 70% INOL of 0.8 (24 reps)
  • Week 2: 5 x 4 with 80% INOL of 1.0 (20 reps)
  • Week 3: 6 x 2 with 90% INOL of 1.2 (12 reps)

I would use the primary loading cycle on Olympic lifts, squats, and lower back/hamstrings.

Secondary Loading Exercises

  • Week 1: 2 x 12 with 60% INOL of 0.6 (24 reps)
  • Week 2: 3 x 10 with 67.5% INOL of 0.9 (30 reps)
  • Week 3: 4 x 8 with 75% INOL of 1.3 (32 reps)

I would use secondary loading cycle on single-leg movements and secondary lower back/hamstrings.

If I wanted to introduce a shock loading microcycle I could choose any of the below patterns, as they all have a INOL of 2.0:

  • 5 x 1 with 97.5%
  • 5 x 2 with 95%
  • 5 x 3 with 92.5%
  • 5 x 4 with 90%
  • 5 x 5 with 87.5%
  • 5 x 6 with 85%
  • 6 x 6 with 82.5%

I would use this on Week 4 of every month since the first week of the cycle will be quite doable.

rugby ashley

Tuesday and Friday

Metabolic Options (Beastly Circuits)

These are all done for six sets of six reps in a continuous fashion and not changing the weight from the first exercise, with a 750-meter row, a 750-meter ski ergometer, or two kilometers on a watt bike between circuits.

Option 1

  • Deadlift
  • Power Clean from Hang
  • Front Squat
  • Push Press
  • Bent-Over Row
  • Romanian Deadlift

Option 2

  • Power Clean from Floor
  • Split Jerk
  • Front Squat
  • Hang Clean
  • Lunge
  • Bent-Over Row

Option 3

  • Power Snatch from Floor
  • Push Press
  • Back Squat
  • Hang Clean
  • Split Jerk
  • Romanian Deadlift with Snatch Grip

Option 4

  • Three Positions Clean (High Thigh, Above Knee, Below Knee)
  • Push Press
  • Jump Squat
  • Hang Snatch
  • Split Jerk Behind Neck
  • Good Morning

Option 5

  • Power Snatch from Floor
  • Overhead Squat
  • Push Jerk Behind Head
  • Combo Good Morning
  • Jump Squat
  • Power Clean from Hang

Upper Body: Two Push and Pull Supersets (60 to 90 seconds between sets and two to three minutes between waves)

Primary Superset

  • Week 1: Wave Load - 2 x (6/5/4) with (75%, 80%, 85%)
  • Week 2: Wave Load – 2 x (5/4/3) with (80%, 85%, 90%)
  • Week 3: Wave Load – 2 x (4/3/2) with (85%, 90%, 95%)

Secondary Superset

  • Week 1: Clusters: 5 x 5 (Up to 20 seconds of rest between reps) with 85–88%
  • Week 2: Clusters: 4 x 6 (3/3, with 20 seconds between each) with 88–92%
  • Week 3: Clusters: 4 x 6 (2/2/2 with 20 seconds between each) with 92–95%
  • Upper Body Finisher – 3 x 5/5/5
  • Triple Angle Drop Incline DB Bench Press (60 degrees/45 degrees/30 degrees)

superset with

  • Mechanical Advantage Chins (Wide Pronated Grip, Shoulder-Width Supinated Grip, Neutral Grip)
  • Finish with 150 total reps of an unloaded core exercise of your choice.

rugby ashley

Repeated Speed

This workout is to be done after the upper body workout or later in the day after a break, whichever best fits into your schedule. Ensure you complete a 15-minute dynamic warm-up prior to the start of the repeated speed session.

Select one of the following options to do in each session. Option 7 and Option 8 can be added after any of the other options for a lactate blast to finish off your session.

  1. Repeat 10 times: 100 meters in 20 seconds, rest 40 seconds, 200 meters in 40 seconds, rest 20 seconds.
  2. Repeat 15 times: Start at the halfway line, sprint to the 10-meter line, back pedal to the halfway line, sprint to the 22-meter line, backpedal to the 10-meter line, sprint to the goal line, jog back to the start. Go every 60 seconds
  3. Repeat 15 times: Repeat Option 2, but go down and up at each line with no second backpedal; just turn and run forward to 10-meter line. Go every 90 seconds
  4. Repeat 10 times: Sprint from the goal line to the far 22-meter line every 45 seconds. Rest two minutes and then do 10 sets of goal line to far 10-meter line every 30 seconds then rest another two minutes. Finally, do 10 sets of goal line to near 10-meter line every 20 seconds
  5. Repeat 15 times: This is a half gasser. Start in a lying position on the sideline, get up and sprint to the other side of the field, down and up on the sideline, and sprint back to the start. Complete in less than 30 seconds each time and go every 60 seconds.
  6. Repeat 15 times: Coat Hanger – Start at the junction of the halfway line and the sideline, sprint around the goal post, and then continue sprinting down the field and around the far goal post and return to the start line. The shape of the run resembles a coat hanger. Go every 90 seconds and keep each run less than 45 seconds.
  7. Scotland Anaerobic Drill – Down and up on the goal line, sprint to the five-meter line, down and up, sprint to goal line, down and up, then sprint to 22-meter line around a cone and back to goal line. Go every 30 seconds. The whole of your body must be behind each line. Do four reps then a one-minute break for four sets.
  8. Springbok Shuttle – Place five cones at five-meter intervals so that your first cone and your last cone are 25 meters apart. Sprint from the first cone to the second, back to the first, on to the third, back to the first, and so on until you’ve sprinted between each cone all the way up to the final one, which will be 25 meters. Go for 30 seconds rest 30 seconds for six total sets.
  9. Lumley Shuttle — This is the same as Option 8 above, but continue for 45 seconds and go down and up at each cone. The whole body must be behind the cone each time. Rest is three minutes and 15 seconds on a four-minute rolling clock for eight total sets.

Speed

Do a neural warmup before each session. The example I have included here is about 15 minutes but do what works for you. Remember: you do not get fast by training slowly.

  • 2 x 10 Low Pogo Jumps, React off the Ground (Low pogo is like using a pogo stick: knees locked, rapid plantar flexion, focused on speed off the ground and not height)
  • 2 x 10 Bench Blasts off Each Leg
  • 2 x 5 Knees to Feet Jump and 10-Meter Acceleration
  • 2 x 20 Meters Straight Leg Bounds
  • 2 x 50 Meters Stride-Throughs

Do six to 10 sprints from a variety of different start positions for Session 1 each week. In Session 2 only use a two-foot sprint stance start. Allow three minutes full recovery between each sprint.

  • Week 1, Session 1: 10 Meters  (Sprint 10 meters, hold form through to 50 meters)
  • Week 1, Session 2: 20 Meters
  • Week 2, Session 1: 15 Meters
  • Week 2, Session 2: 25 Meters
  • Week 3, Session 1: 20 Meters
  • Week 3, Session 2: 30 Meters
  • Week 4, Session 1: 25 Meters
  • Week 4, Session 2: 35 Meters
  • Week 5 is a down week. You will only perform the neural warm-up and do five 40-meter stride-throughs at 80% of maximum speed
  • Week 6 recommences the progression by starting at the Week 3 loading and increasing five meters each week on each of the designated session sprints
  • Week 6, Session 1: 20 Meters
  • Week 6, Session 2: 30 Meters
  • Week 7, Session 1: 25 Meters
  • Week 7, Session 2: 35 Meters
  • Week 8, Session 1: 30 Meters
  • Week 8, Session 2: 40 Meters
  • Week 9, Session 1: 35 Meters
  • Week 9, Session 2: 45 Meters
  • Week 10 is a down week where you will only perform the neural warm-up and do two sets of five 40-meter stride-throughs at 85-90% of maximum speed with slow walk back recovery between reps and five minutes between sets.
  • Week 11 recommences the progression by starting at the Week 9 loading and increasing five meters each week on each of the designated session sprints.
  • Week 11, Session 1: 35 Meters
  • Week 11, Session 2: 45 Meters
  • Week 12, Session 1: 40 Meters
  • Week 12, Session 2: 50 Meters

Instead of this, you could follow a program that we use on a regular basis in-season, combined with our last training run on the day before a game:

Captain’s Run

Power Speed Activation Session

You can choose any of the following to perform in this session. Performance is the key for selection.

Speed: 10, 20, or 30 meters for one to five reps through the gates

Weighted Power Movements

3 x 3-5 with 60-70%            

  • Cleans or Snatch or Pulls from Floor/Hang/Blocks
  • Hip Thrusts with Bands or Bar
  • Jump Squats or Quarter Squats in Rack

3 x 10 Meters                                       

  • Prowler Push (High or Low handles)
  • Weighted Sled Sprint/March

3 x 10 Each Leg

  • Banded Leg Drive 

Medicine Ball Movements

 3 x 5                                       

  • Scoop Toss
  • Reverse Toss
  • Chest Press
  • Woodchop Throw

Unweighted Lower Body Plyometric Movements

3 x 5

  • Box Jumps/Hops
  • Depth Jumps Repeat Long Jumps/Hops
  • Repeat Hurdle Jumps/Hops
  • Borzov Hops
  • Alternating Bench Blasts
  • Knees to Feet

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