SA Rugby conditioning staff exploring creative training methods

SA Rugby conditioning staff exploring creative training methods - Sports Leo

Aled Walters is the man responsible for the fitness and conditioning of the Springboks and during the COVID-19 lockdown in SA, he and his Springbok coaching colleagues have to come up with innovative ideas to keep the players going while they are staying at home.

Walters, the Springboks’ Head of Athletic Performance, explained that his methods involve using technology with some creativity.

“This is obviously a challenging period worldwide, with the wellbeing of everyone the priority,” Walters told

“The players have different challenges during this time as they need to be as strong, fit and as rugby-ready as possible – in other words, to be prepared and ready for when we do return to team training.”

According to Walters, rugby players are used to having to train by themselves during their off-season (using training programmes at the completion of their normal playing calendar) but he says it’s challenging not having access to gymnasiums or being able to go for a run.

“The real challenge during this period is retaining as much of their physical and physiological qualities as possible while remaining at home, and not having access to gyms or training fields,” said Walters.

“You have to be much more creative for the player living in an apartment compared to a player living on a farm. My role at this stage is to assist players wherever I can – if that means creating sessions or exercises that they can do with minimum space and equipment available at home.

“Fortunately, thanks to technology, I can keep in regular contact with the players and coaches.

“We’re continuing with our planning during this period so that we are ready when the time comes for us to get back into play.”

Walters, not known to be shy when it comes to physical exercise, also gave a glimpse into how he is getting along during the extended period of home isolation.

“My own exercise routine at home is to cycle in the morning, get the heart rate going and to feel healthier, and to make sure that I stretch at least two to three times a day,” he said.

“We all tend to sit a bit longer whilst at home, and my posture is suffering because of that. So the idea is to target one stretch and to do it five to six times on each side, looking after the upper back and the hip area.”

In a video shared on the Springboks’ social media channels, Walters demonstrates his stretching exercise, which he says everyone can do at home. He finishes off with a reminder to the public to keep safe and healthy as possible during this period.

“Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, stay indoors as much as you can, and if you have to leave the house – to get your groceries, go to a doctor or pharmacy – please adhere to the social distancing guidelines.”

In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo

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