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Thursday Jul 7, 2016

Rugby Training Mistakes: That One Thing You're Missing

Rugby Training Mistakes: That One Thing You're Missing

Something that seems to be everywhere in fitness these days, is ‘That one thing your missing’. These things can be exotic foods, supplements, training gear or training methods. Today Rugbydump Strength Coach TJ Jankowski discusses why these weird tricks might actually be holding you back from great results, and what to do about it.   

The search to find a shortcut seems more prevalent these days than ever before.

The most popular fitness YouTube channel is called “Six Pack Shortcuts”, the front page of every monthly fitness magazine shows you the “one trick to gaining muscle” or the “one food you’re not eating that will get you shredded”.

This quick-fix-ation (see what I did there) isn’t limited to fitness either – nearly every time I watch a video online (ahem) I’m greeted with a pop-up promising me one trick that will either cure my baldness (which I don’t have), get me laid, or earn me millions of dollars – I currently cannot confirm if the trick is the same for all three.

I imagine that this is all a result of our lives being made exponentially faster/easier (you be the judge of which) in the last couple of decades that has made us spoilt. Twenty years ago, if you wanted to arrange a party you’d have to make dozens of phone calls to make arrangements, check schedules and organize.

Compare this to today where you can set up an event on Facebook, offend a few people who aren’t invited, have an awkward conversation with them, make the event private and change the date to have a new party all in under a minute!

20 years ago if you really wanted to get some great results from training you had to train your ass off, you’d have to structure yourself a smart training plan ACCORDING TO YOUR GOALS that didn’t neglect certain areas you’d need and you’d have to stick with it.

Not just few a weeks, not even for a few months, you’d have had to make it a habit, a lifestyle, something that you’d have just done day-in day-out.

Advance 20 years to today, where if you really want to get some great results from training you have to train your ass off, structure yourself a smart training plan… you know the rest.

Now, some people will argue nothing ventured, nothing gained, and to that I would say that the more you buy into “one weird trick” or the one supplement that you need, the more your focus is taken away from the things that ARE effective.

The most effective strategies to improve your training are always going to be the most simple, for example:

Want to lose weight? Eat less

Want to gain muscle in a certain area? Train that area more.

Want to get faster? Sprint more

All of these strategies are going to yield great results, but nobody could possibly argue that they are “weird” or “easy”.

I often see the phrase “Trainers Hate Him” when referring to a fitness guy who has found an easy method to get amazing results. Let me tell you, if there was a simple trick to get results, trainers would be jumping for joy! AND it would be common knowledge in an instant, not on some shady commercial.

Now, don’t get me wrong – technology has certainly helped athlete’s training become more effective. For example –

We have smarter ways of getting in food with supplements, but they won’t replace eating a quality diet.

We have ways of tracking your training so that you don’t burn yourself out just doing endless cardio (something I’m going to talk about next week), but this doesn’t make it any easier.

We have more and more science that confirms which strategies are the most effective for getting results, none of which show any “tricks”, “secrets” or are even remotely easy.

Now, every so often there will be a simple strategy that may come about that may actually have some benefit. The thing that you MUST be aware of is that these benefits are going to be miniscule in the grand scheme of things.

Yes, the benefit will be there but is it worth you constantly moving from gimmick to gimmick to find? Probably not.

Supplements, “superfoods”, unique exercises/protocols, special equipment all of these things combined will never replace a solid base of hard work, smart, effective strategies and consistency. Only a strong constant focus on that will get you to your goals.

What gimmicks have you fallen for before? Or do you still believe in a unique strategy that you find works for you? Let us know in the comments below!


  • tjjankowski
    9:53 PM 12/07/2016

    Agree with all of that. I've trained some guys who used to do his stuff, all wasnt too bad really, somewhat flawed but ok overall. The problem is more in the notion of the "shortcut". I guess the statement "trainers hate him" was a self-fulfilling prophecy

  • stroudos
    3:47 PM 12/07/2016

    "Trainers hate him" - I think this is Mike Chang's slogan isn't it? Interesting thing I noticed with him, when I first came across his videos (about 5-6 years ago), was that- yes, his channel did have "shortcuts" in it, he promised amazing fast results and his videos tended to follow the cheesy long American infomercial style - BUT, the workout videos he used to post were actually really good! Very straightforward, do them in your living room / garden / hotel room, lots of explosiveness etc, good honest high-intensity interval training. In fact, the "short cut" seemed to be doing really hard workouts and I was more than happy to take on that message. I still incorporate some of his stuff into my training and have found them really useful for improving rugby fitness. Having said that, over the past 3-4 years, he's grown a horrible hairstyle, his videos have become more annoying (even cheesier than before) and significantly more clickbaity and he seems to be focusing more on flogging some supplement.

  • 10stonenumber10
    3:54 PM 11/07/2016

    It is for the same reason you need to be 10ft10 for the NBA. We all have our natural limit, and as the games become professional and evolve, the barrier to entry is that bit higher. Before, you just had to be good at rugby. Now, you need to be a weightlifter too. It isn't a game for a weekend runaround any more, it is a complete "lifestyle" Don't get me wrong, I am all about chasing dreams, but there is so much more to life...

  • drg
    1:42 AM 11/07/2016

    ...sorry, last sentence is not there to discredit or put down Skelton, however I'd assume (rightly or wrongly) his natural height and weight would have made him a far more attractive 'draft' than the little guys...

  • drg
    1:41 AM 11/07/2016

    Oh sorry mate, I get what you mean now... I read it differently to how you "said" it. I agree with your sentiments.. The reality is there are very few people which can ever commit the time to develop a rugby player physique and maintain a family life/work life/social life... As a married man, I'm lucky enough to have a wife who is into the gym and also outdoor pursuits... it makes for a healthy, active and fun life. But that is what works with me, not everyone wants that or has that. Male body insecurity is a heck of a lot higher than any credit is ever given - in fact in a world where it was predominantly "male orientated" we're doing a brilliant job at reversing right through the equilibrium and into the other side. I digress....however it is relevant to the extent that we as rugby enthusiasts are incorrectly shown by way of camera work in any rugby game that in order to be a good player, you must be a mountain... and to some extent the commentary also emphasises this - I can hear Andrew Cotter in my head right now talking - "on comes the great hulking figure of Jim Hamilton, what a giant of a man he is" "The French have made a tactical substitution and off goes three well spent giants in the front row only to be replaced by another three monstrously huge athletes"... etc Doesn't it all sound so lavish? "A monstrous hulking figure of 10st10 comes lumbering onto the field, his sheer size strikes fear into the opposition"... sort of sounds a hell of a lot more appealing than "Here comes that little bloke who weighs less than bakkies left boot.... doubt he'll last long"... Don't get me wrong, Shane Williams/Peter Stringer are poster children for the little guys, but boy I bet they had to fight a hell of a lot harder to get recognition than the likes of someone like Will Skelton...

  • drg
    12:23 AM 08/07/2016

    "You don't build big legs by bench pressing"....errr....correct? :/

  • 10stonenumber10
    7:33 PM 07/07/2016

    I've been banging this point home at every opportunity on this website. Functional mass. FUNCTIONAL mass. The clue is in the name. You have to work to get it. You don't build big legs by bench pressing. I was laughed out the gym as a U18 for only benching my bodyweight... i laughed at those same people as I breezed past them untouched on the training field. Fiji are pound for pound the most athletic, dynamic and one of the most physically powerful teams in rugby history You don't see those lads in the gym 6 hours a day with measuring tapes and protein shakes. Unlike the majority of teams, they play rugby when they train. Not just line dancing and set piece. The squat rack won't teach you to spot a gap. But my god it will give you the gas to get through it. Quite fitting that you used a picture akin to the shake weight from South Park. People more concerned with your barbell instead of their own are a bunch of w*nkers.


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