Leinster Rugby Elite Performance Conference

Leinster Rugby Elite Performance Conference

Part 1


Hi guys my name is Eoin Stanley and this blog is about the recent strength and conditioning conference from Leinster Rugby that took place at the end of October in the RDS Dublin 4.

Who am I, and why was I there? Based in Dublin and from Louth, I’m currently a student in Setanta College studying for a BA in S & C, I’ve been involved in the fitness/sports industry for the last 10 years, starting out with a NCEF level 1 qualification, also doing a level 2 in personal training, I have completed the IAWLA level 1 weightlifting and the IRFU CCC and I’m also a certified boxing coach.

I work with a number of senior/minor GAA and rugby teams and coach boxing conditioning classes for White Collar Boxing Ireland (cheap plugJ). Full time however I am a member of the Irish defence forces were I am also a physical training instructor. Enough about me….

I attended this conference as I thought it would be an invaluable source of knowledge for me and a great chance to get an insight into how an S & C team operate within a professional environment, I wasn’t disappointed.

The day started with the first lecture at 9:15am as stated on the itinerary, (these guys are strict on their times, as you’d expect) Brian Cullen of Dublin GAA fame and Leinster academy S&C coach MC’d the event and first up was Daniel Tobin the head of S & C, he spoke about the overall job of the S & C team which is to deliver fit and healthy players who are significantly conditioned to meet the demands of professional rugby,.

Programme planning and “bang for your buck”

Daniel spoke about maximising performance and plyometrics, about the type of training the players do and the different ways they are assessed and monitored to ensure what they are doing is working. From what I gathered every single rep, set, score, weight used etc… Is recorded and used to validate or improve the program, with each year’s results being compared to the previous in order for it to be continued or modified.

The counter movement jump is used as an indicator of power, with the players’ pre season score used as a base line; the score is measured on the RSI (reactive strength index). Daniel explained that the current trend in the squad is to perform a jump session of between 60 – 80 mixed jumps before a lifting session (compound training) and that this type of training along with monitoring the players RSI  and recognising how much volume is the optimal for performance is giving them the best results compared to say the 2009 season when complex training(i.e. heavy 3 rep squat followed immediately by box jumps) was widely used and actually led to scores lower than the players base line.

He also spoke about “Selective Priming” for certain players which is controlled by measuring there CMJ score pre match (morning or 90 mins before) if a player score was less than 90% baseline they found by having him perform a PAP’s session (post activation potentiating) which is in essence a “mini work out” they could get that player “primed” and ready to perform as opposed to being “flat” going into the game.

Two things however stuck in my mind,

  1. At club level where you as a coach may be very limited on time and or resources include jumps as part of the warm up, a lovely simple way of improving player performance without them even realising it.
  2. Box squats are the no.1 choice of squat within the squad, going back through all their data this exercise has given them the most bang for their buck, even for players who can perform a standard barbell squat perfectly they have gotten more from this reference strength, power, less injuries etc…

Please comment on your thoughts and opinions, and if you were at the conference and you see that I have left anything out please feel free to slate me………I mean add it in there J

Please read over the file “Leinster Rugby Final presentation” which I have posted on the Facebook group “Elite strength and conditioning”

Presentation slide for part 1.


Part 2 to follow along with relevant slides.

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