England Sevens player Chris Cracknell unveils the new kit to be worn at this year's Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium
Seven Fitness Tips from a Rugby Sevens Player!
The England Sevens players travel round the globe on the nine-tournament HSBC Sevens World Series that makes incredible demands on their bodies, playing six games each weekend at high speed and high intensity. As the London leg of the Series approaches, Chris Cracknell shares some of the high performance team’s training methods and health tips.
Getting your diet and hydration right is the foundation stone to everything we do. We need a good source of carbohydrate – non-starchy, slow release – for all the running we do and lots of protein to recover and replenish your muscles plus good fats from avocados and nuts for joints and recovering from high impacts.
2. Speed specific
We have the luxury of working with a high performance sprint coach – Faye Downey – and we’ve got some players like Dan Norton and Mat Turner whose top speed is exceptional. We work on technique and on strong ankles, legs and a strong running position. In the gym we’ll do power weights and that’s something people taking part in any team sport could do. A routine might involve cleans, step-ups, snatches, sled running. Four to five sets, two to four repetitions of each exercise.
3. Power endurance
The big guys in the forwards have physical work to do on the pitch – clearing rucks, carrying the ball into contact – and have to repeat it. There’s no time for any rest. To support that you might do cross-fit circuits in the gym – an example routine would be six reps of box jumps, power cleans, farmer’s walk, thrusters (squat to upright with a bar extending your arms up while you’re doing it) followed by a 100m row. Do six sets of that as fast as you can!
4. Speed endurance
For some of the super-quick sevens players the ability to run long distances at high speed repeatedly is the key. You have to be able to sprint 80m at top speed and then do it again 20 or 30 seconds later. Here’s a running session you can do to that works for footballers, hockey players and even distance runners: You’ve got 40 secs to run 100m and the time you don’t use is your recovery time – do that eight times, rest for two minutes and then do it all again. Then do the same thing again over 50m with 25secs to run/recover.
Sevens is so quick and the demands on your body are so high that your skills are put under maximum pressure. One mistake in a game can be the difference between winning and losing. Hand/eye coordination has to be sharp at the end of day two of a tournament, in the final minute of your sixth game in two days. It applies to all sports. We work on passing and catching drills when we’re fatigued after running 4-5km in a training session. For any sport – or any activity for that matter – you need to practise under pressure.
6. Mental toughness
A life lesson from the sevens circuit. We have to be switched on in six games over two days, running 3.5km in each game, and we have to deal with the peaks and troughs of getting up and down for games, waking up battered on day two, then travelling through different time zones to do it all again the following week – a long way away from your home and your loved ones. It is demanding but the ability to switch off and to have familiar routines as part of your day can help. You’re close to your teammates and you switch off in your downtime – go to the cinema, go out for a coffee and chill out. In games, we’re very task-oriented. The distractions and the crowds are huge but we shut all that out – focus on the next task, then the next one, and the next one, and tick them all off.
7. Sevens secret tip – Pilates
You might not think of rugby players doing pilates but lots do and the way it helps your core strength and stability is a great foundation for playing the game. Retraining your muscles to be long and strong helps when you’re going into contact as well as giving you a stable base when you’re running.
for the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham Stadium on 12th & 13th
May 2012 are on sale now via rfu.com/londonsevens
Weekend passes start at £30, day tickets from £18 and kids tickets just
£5 each day. Like the Marriot London Sevens at
(Tickets are subject to availability and booking fees apply).