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Strength Training Recommendations to Improve Scrum Force and Impulse in Rugby Union Forwards

Mills, Blair S., MSc1,2; McMaster, Daniel T., PhD, CSCS1,2; Smith, Brett, PhD1

Strength & Conditioning Journal: February 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 1 - p 64–74
doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000420
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ABSTRACT OPTIMAL SCRUM PERFORMANCE IN RUGBY UNION REQUIRES THE FORWARD PACK TO PRODUCE A LARGE SUSTAINED COORDINATED HORIZONTAL IMPULSE. TRAINING HORIZONTAL IMPULSE AND FORCE FOR SCRUMMAGING IS NOT EASILY SIMULATED WITH TRADITIONAL RESISTANCE TRAINING EXERCISES (E.G., SQUAT, DEADLIFT, AND CLEAN). THEREFORE, IT IS PROPOSED THAT THE INCLUSION OF HEAVY HORIZONTALLY RESISTED EXERCISES (E.G., SLED PUSH AND SCRUM MACHINE) WITHIN A GIVEN TRAINING PHASE BE INCLUDED TO PROVIDE A GREATER TRANSFER OF FORCE TO THE RUGBY SCRUM. THIS ARTICLE (A) PROVIDES AN OVERVIEW OF THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS AND BIOMECHANICS OF SCRUMMAGING, AND (B) PROVIDES STRENGTH TRAINING GUIDELINES TO IMPROVE SCRUMMAGING FORCE PRODUCTION.

1Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand; and

2New Zealand All Black Sevens, New Zealand Rugby, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

Address correspondence to Dr. Daniel T. McMaster, daniel.mcmaster@waikato.ac.nz.

Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: The authors report no conflicts of interest and no source of funding.

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Blair S. Millsis the Lead Strength and Conditioning coach at All Black Sevens Rugby.

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Daniel T. McMasteris a Research Fellow in Strength and Conditioning and Applied Biomechanics at the University of Waikato Adams Centre for High Performance.

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Brett Smithis a Senior Lecturer in exercise physiology and exercise prescription at the University of Waikato and the lead sport scientist for the Chiefs Rugby Club and consultant sports scientist and strength conditioner for Rowing Australia.

© 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association