Sports Performance with David Joyce
Well, things have changed for me in the last week or so. I’ve left the sunny shores of Istanbul and found myself up on the sunny shores of North East of England. I’ve taken the role of consultant Head of Performance for Hull FC in Rugby League. I’ve never worked in League before but I spent 3 years at Saracens in Rugby Union so I have a bit of an understanding of these types of blokes. The main reason I wanted to take on this role was because it was a challenge to set up a High Performance Unit in an elite sport. The other reason was because League players are renowned the world over for being extremely hard men with an incredible work ethic. Those of you that have been following my pieces for the last year will know that I love a good work ethic and these guys are close to top of the pile.
So, my role is to lead both the sports medicine and the sports science departments and to be fair, both departments are filled with really good guys. The strength programmes here are really well structured by our S+C guys and I was really pleased to see that they already incorporate much of the resistance training philosophies that I subscribe to, namely:
|"If we don’t challenge the body with new exercises (or new variations of the same exercises), we hit a plateau."|
- Short, intense sessions: I think lifting sessions should be limited to no more than an hour. I’ve found that any more than this tends to lead to a reduction in intensity.
- Competitive lifting environment: This is necessary to not just ensure intensity but also means that the gym is a fun and positive place to be.
- Emphasis on muscle balance: An example of this might be push vs pull strength. Another example is ensuring that the posterior chain (glutes / hamstrings) receive as much attention as the hip flexors and quads.
- Strength development as a key foundation for power development: If we want to be powerful, we need to be strong first. The Russians and Bulgarians have been preaching this for years and now Western sport scientists are proving that they were indeed correct.
I often get asked “Dave, what are your favourite exercises”, to which I give the same answer, “just about all of them!”. It’s impossible to name favourites because we need to rotate them around often in order to stimulate the body in a variety of different ways. If we don’t challenge the body with new exercises (or new variations of the same exercises), we hit a plateau. I do believe that a well rounded programme incorporates at least one upper body push exercise (bench press, shoulder press, one upper body pull exercise (pull ups, high pulls), one lower body push exercise (back squats, Bulgarian split squats), and one lower body pull exercise (Nordic hamstring curls, dead lifts). A session that incorporates all of these will hit all the major ‘accelerators’ in the human body.
We’re going to talk a little more about strength next week and so, until then,
Stay robust, amigos!
Injury and Performance Consultant at Galatasaray FC. Holds a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy and a Masters in Strength and Conditioning. He also lectures on the MSc in Sports Physio course at the University of Bath.