The Football site launched the night of 3. 31.2009 and my inbox exploded. Two emails stick out in my head from the 2000+ emails I received, one from Daz of CrossFit Newcastle in Newcastle, Australia and the other from not so happy CrossFitter. Daz's interest was in the programming and making tweaks to adapt it to rugby. I loved it. I had not thought about using the programming to create bigger, stronger, fitter rugby players but after we corresponded a bunch I started to understand the demands of the game and what was needed. The other email was more critical of the name, the program and who I thought I was to offer a sport-specific version of training with strength and metabolic conditioning. Crazy (I will save that for another time). When we had our first CFFB seminar, Daz made the long trip from Newcastle to Orange County with a bottle of Bundaberg Rum in hand to get a closer look; we were able to return the favor and do a seminar at his box last fall. We had an excellent experience and got to work with many of Daz's rugby players, have drinks and eat. I am looking forward to coming back to Oz as we had fun, enjoyed the vibe and met a lot of guys and girls that want to be strong and train hard. Tough to not like the Australians.
Daz sent me a write up on his experience using CrossFit Football ideals and programming blended with what he does so well. Play rugby.
In addition to training athletes and running his own strength & conditioning facility, Daz offers a training seminar for rugby players and website offering training and playing information. The site is called Give'm Cold Steel.
Is CrossFit Football good for Rugby?
OK, so lets say I’m in a good mood.
Let’s start with Rugby. Rugby is a game played by men and women that need to be as Powerful, Strong, Fast and as agile as possible with a solid aerobic base, so they can inflict as much damage as possible to their opposition.
Now back to CFFB. CFFB is a program that develops power, strength, speed, agility and aerobic capacity. So yeah, I think it’s a good program for rugby.
Say I’m in a bad mood.
Do you even know rugby? Don’t you want to dominate your opposite player? Don’t you want to be able to smash him at the breakdown, drive his spine through his back in a tackle, make him eat dirt in a scrum, make him cower at the thought of you running through him, around him, over the top of him? Do you think you could develop and fine-tune the physical attributes to achieve those goals by picking up weights my girlfriend could press? Stopping for a ‘magic’ water break during a 2min workout? Or skipping near max rep workouts cause you don’t want to get ‘too big’ somewhere?
I say shut the fuck up and do the program. Follow it to a tee and you’ll get results.
Over last couple of years I’ve received countless questions on the relevance of CFFB to rugby, and other sports. My answers start of differently for each person but it always comes back to two things;
1. Athletes know what they need for their sport but NOT how to get it.
2. Too many athletes don’t really know their sport.
When I give the above Good guy or Bad guy answers above, I get the “but NFL is only played over 3>8sec, rugby is 80mins, it cant be good for rugby!” straight after.
This, for me, highlights their lack of experience with strength and conditioning. I then have to explain the game of rugby to them a little more;
1. Rugby is played OVER 80mins, its not ‘played’ for 80mins
2. There are a number of stoppages throughout the game to provide ample time to recovery reasonably for the next phase of play.
3. During play, forwards or backs [more for the backs] have chances to conserve energy and move at less than max speed throughout the game. The player’s level of ability and experience allows the player to exert himself at max effort or coast after ‘reading’ the state of the game.
Basically the two games NFL & Rugby, are definitely different no question, but the attributes of big, powerful, strong, fast and agile players, while position specific, are similar across both games.
Then I go on to explain strength & conditioning a little more;
1. The human body has two arms and two legs [usually]
2. Through science and best practice, smarter people than I, have gotten results time and time again making men and women stronger, faster, more powerful regardless of their sport. There are certain ways to train muscles that work.
3. Your body doesn’t know what sport you are playing; the name of the program doesn’t matter.
As I’m writing this, I think the biggest thing that people get wrong all the time is trying to be ‘sport specific’, in regards to Rugby & Rugby League here In OZ and the UK. All our strength and conditioning practices have come from coaches going over to the NFL and adopting their methods.
I do recall in the 80’s [I learned about it later], there was a massive shift in player physique in Rugby League after Jack Gibson returned from a develop tour of the NFL in the states and saw the need for bigger, stronger players. It not only helps with dominating the opposition but protects against injury, which is a massive plus when the demands of your body are physical combat.
For rugby players out there interested in following CFFB, do it!
If you are curious about physical attributes and your training with a coach/gym that isn’t familiar with rugby think mostly the defensive team.
1. Rugby tight 5, MLB
2. Rugby back row, MLB & Running backs
3. Rugby backs, Safety, CB, special teams
Follow the program. Follow the nutrition guidelines. Get results. Simple.