Fitness? 

What is it? What do we need to truly consider ourselves as fit and athletic? 

I believe there are 5 main components to being fit and athletic. The first 4 are fairly obvious: strength, speed, endurance and agility (I feel I can say I'm good at 2 of these and poor at 2). 

These 4 are constantly reflected in the work we do both at rugby training and in our own personal fitness with the poor relative probably being agility. 

The 5th is something I think most rugby players at or around our level neglect is flexibility. 

This really is an underrated element of physical performance. To paraphrase Spider-Man - with great flexibility comes great potential! 

Think about a squat: some people can drop right down on their haunches, arse cheeks virtually on the floor and then at the other end of the spectrum their legs don't even make horizontal. The person with the fuller range of motion is utilising the full length of their muscles, allowing for more constriction and greater pull. 

With a rubber band the further you stretch it the more potential energy you have as every element of the band is taut ready to spring back and therefore you can flick it further than a partially stretched band. 

In a scrum you may get nudged back on contact, lose your position and find your legs bent more than you are used to. If you have only trained for the lowest range of movement you are able to offer little drive from this extra flexed position without moving feet and again losing drive power. With greater flexibility you will be able to drive back with much greater force. 

The applications on the rugby field are endless, so as well as chucking those 100kg weights around, doing your hill sprints and 10 km runs remember to spend 10 or so minutes stretching off those muscles, the hamstrings, the quads, the back etc. it will make a difference.

I know I'm working on it.