Our number 1 goal with contact athletes? Don’t get them injured. Strength standards for contact athletes are usually reserved for the squat/bench/chin/deadlift numbers.
However, the number 1 goal with your training should be to stay on the field, and spend more time practicing the thing that matters – your sport.
These are 3 strength standards aren’t sexy, but arguably, just as important.
CAN YOU DO A FRONT NECK BRIDGE FOR 30SECONDS?
If you’ve ever stumbled across our work, you know we harp on about neck training.
Over 200,000 emergency visits per year have been linked to sports related concussions.
Concussions have been linked to depression, neurocognitive deficits, suicide, and mental disorders (Toninato et al., 2018). They’re no joke.
Although the literature isn’t exactly clear, there is some promising research around neck training.
Collins et al (2014) found that “For every pound of neck strength, odds of concussion is reduced by 5%”
We want all our athletes to work towards doing a (unassisted) prone neck bridge for 30seconds:
Most athletes will need to work up to this exercise, you should start by aiming for 3 x 20 neck flexions with a 20kg plate:
CAN YOU DO A NORDIC HAMSTRING CURL?
Hamstring injuries are still the most common injury in contact athletes.
A lot of this comes down to the complete lack of speed training in athletes programmes.
However, the research is clear, nordic hamstring curls can reduce injury risk by up to 51% in athletes.
We want our lighter contact athletes (sub 100kg) to be able to do a full nordic, our heavier athletes work to get strong on the nordic hip hinge, or band assisted nordics.
CAN YOU DO YOUR AGE IN CALF RAISES?
England Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (2020) found that the calf and hamstring continued to be the most prevalent injuries across five seasons.
Furthermore, Bayran et al (2020) found that ankle injuries were one of the most common injuries in UK American Football, which is consistent with US data.
We want all our athletes to be able to perform their age in SL calf raises per side with a 1 second hold at the top, and 1 second hold at the bottom (i.e. if you’re 25, do 25 reps per side).
This is so often neglected and will drastically reduce your risk of injury.
Please share these strength standards contact athletes with your team mates.