Proformance Rugby Camps Confirmed – Wed 13th Feb 2013


Following the first camps that ran in 2012 we are really excited to announce that the Proformance Rugby Camps are back for 2013!

The camps are aimed at young rugby players aged 12-15 who want to improve their rugby skills and to learn how to train safely and effectively to improve their fitness and take their performance to all new levels.

The next camps are running during Feb Half Term Week on Wednesday 13th Feb 2013 with a morning session for Under 12s & 13s and an afternoon session for Under 14s & 15s.

Our specialist Rugby Coach, former England Sevens, Gloucester & Bristol Rugby player Jack Adams is delivering the rugby skills and sharing his knowledge and experiences from elite level rugby.

On the Strength & Conditioning side we will be focusing on the development of fundamental strength training techniques appropriate for young athletes!

As with all our programmes the workshops run with small groups (maximum of 8 per coach) which means that you get a lot more time working with our coaches than on some of the larger camps out there. This means that places are limited.

Until the 31st of January you can sign up for the Early Bird Discount price.

For more details and booking please check out our Workshops page!



Olympic Lifting Workshop @ Trimnasium Fitness Centre 19/01/2013

Yesterday was the second workshop in conjunction with Trimnasium Fitness Centre in Cheltenham and it was a real success again.

The group were superb in terms of their work ethic and desire to learn and there was good progress shown by everyone in the group. This particular workshop was focused on the Clean and Jerk and the first work shop before Christmas was for the Snatch.

The Olympic Lifts are a tremendous tool in an athlete’s tool box for the development of explosive power. So if you have time on your side it’s a worthwhile investment of your time to learn them.

The primary goal of the workshops is to improve the athletes understanding of the correct technique & their ability to execute a safe and effective lift.

Both lifts are very technical compared to the majority of exercises you see being performed in the gym and my advice for anyone wanting to get in to it would be to seek out a good coach to get you started. To demonstrate the technical nature here are the phases of the Clean & Jerk:

1)      Start Position

2)      1st Pull

3)      Transition Phase

4)      2nd Pull

5)      Catch

6)      Front Squat to Standing

7)      Split Jerk

If there are phases in that list you’ve not heard of there’s a good chance you’re missing something in your lift and you could be putting yourself at risk of injury.

As a coach there are a couple of things I’m looking for before I start anyone on the Olympic Lifts.

1)      For the Clean – Can you Front Squat with excellent technique?

2)      For the Snatch – Can you Overhead Squat with excellent technique? (i.e. full depth squat, able to maintain neutral spine and bar above the crown of the head)

If you can’t do either of those, in my eyes, the full Snatch or Clean & Jerk aren’t for you yet. You need to be able to execute the Front & Overhead Squats well as they are the positions you will be catching the bar in during the lifts.

If you’re good at those lifts under load, you can be sure you’ve got the strength and stability to catch effectively in the lifts.

We’ve been lucky that both groups that have joined us at Trimnasium have been good squatters so we’ve been able to get into some Olympic lifting.

Throughout the workshop we have coached the proper execution of the individual phases of the lifts & then linked the different phases of the lift together as the athletes demonstrate technical competence.

It was great to see by the end of the session that we had some of the guys executing full lifts with good technique. Whilst other guys in the group still needed to work on some other aspects before they could progress, the main thing was that everyone left with a clear idea of where they were at currently, what exercises they could do safely and what they needed to do to improve!

If you’re keen to involved on the next workshop keep an eye on our Workshops page, check out Trimnasium Fitness Centre on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @proformanceteam

Four Steps to Lose Weight

This quality poster came through to my email this week from Matt Lovell, a nutritionist right at the top of the game working with the likes of UK Athletics, Manchester City FC and England Rugby.

I love the simplicity of this graphic he’s put together so I had to share it!

As it says stick it to your fridge and follow the four steps to successful fat loss!

Matt’s website Four Week Fat Loss is well worth a look for more information about his methods.



Mobilise your hips to reduce Lower Back Pain

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During his presentation at the UKSCA 2011 conference Bill Foran S&C Coach for the Miami Heat presented a concept I instantly liked – Joint by Joint. It originates from Gray Cook & Mike Boyle check out this link for a full explanation of the concept.

Essentially the primary needs of each joint are as follows:

Joint — Primary Need

Ankle — Mobility (sagittal)

Knee — Stability

Hip — Mobility (multi-planar)

Lumbar Spine — Stability

Thoracic Spine — Mobility

Scapula — Stability

Gleno-humeral — Mobility

For this post I’m just going to focus on the importance of hip mobility, the impact on the body when we have lost mobility and some practical exercises to improve it.

As above in an ideal scenario the hips are mobile and the lumbar spine is stable.

But when we lose hip mobility, we get lower back pain because the lumbar spine becomes unstable.

So this is the symptom you may see in yourself or your clients/athletes along with hamstring strains.

Without getting into too technical and complex terms for the non-scientists reading this the problem starts because when the muscles in and around the hips become immobile, it is the lumbar (base) spine that begins to bend and extend to produce movements due to the fact the movement is no available through the hip.

So what can we do to get more mobile at the hip?

Here are just a couple of suggestions for exercises to improve mobility to the hips and take some of the strain off the lower back.

Full Hip Lunge Stretch



  • Start in a press up position
  • Bring your left foot up to your left hand
  • Keep the rear leg extended, chest up and glute firing on the trailing leg to force hip extension
  • Keep your chest up so your back stays straight hold in this position for 1 minute 
  • Then drive the left elbow down to the instep of your left foot and hold for a further 30-60 seconds
  • Repeat on the opposite side

You can also add in rotational movements to the stretch to get get a more three dimensional stretch through hips. I’ll add some pics for this at a later date.

Split Squats

I love split squats for a number of reasons but one of the main reasons I get people to use them is for the dynamic stretch they provide through the hip of the trailing leg as you lower into the bottom position.

As well as increasing strength they help to either improve flexibility in clients/athletes who are tight through the hips or as a strategy to maintain a good range of movement along with static stretches such as the one above.


  • Standing feet hip width apart, take a long stride forward
  • Keeping your front knee above or behind the ankle, drop the back knee down to just above the floor
  • Keep your torso upright through out
  • Drive back up to the start position, repeat for 10 reps, then change sides

There are lots of other exercises out there but these are two I’ve found to be very effective & I’ll add some more exercises into this post as soon as I get chance, but let me know if you find they make a difference for you. If you’re a coach and you’ve got some other good options get in touch, I’m always keen to learn.

Follow us on Twitter: @proformanceteam

Semi-Private Training Packages are launched!

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We are very excited to have launched our new Semi-Private Training Packages offering high quality personal training on a small group basis (max 3-4 people per group).

By training in small groups we can give you a lot more training for the same price of your normal 1 to 1 personal training sessions which will give you better results! For the same price as 4 x 1 to1 PT sessions and your monthly gym membership we are offering 3 Semi-Private coaching sessions per week, that’s 12 coach led sessions per month!

For more info about Semi-Private Training check out the 3 new monthly package options on offer!

Movement Preparation (Warm Up)

Preparing your body properly for training and competition is important to ensure you perform to your potential and to reduce the risk of injuries. But it’s also a valuable time to work on new aspects of training or maintain other fitness qualities if time is limited for your training.

Now whilst getting on the treadmill, bike or rower for 10 minutes will no doubt serve the purpose of warming you up, you can make much better use of that time at the start of each session to improve fundamental areas of your fitness.

The Movement Preparation sequence we use is built on the RAMP framework –

Raise body temperature & heart rate
Activate  key muscle groups
Mobilise joints
Potentiate – prime the body for the maximal intensities it will be required to produce in the session/comp

The RAMP framework for me is great because it allows me to make the most out of the 10-15 minutes at the start of a session. Now 10-15 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time but when you do this every session, every week it accumulates to a lot of training time.

The potentiation phase also provides a nice little window of opportunity to have the athlete doing some power & speed work in a strength phase or a bit of strength work in a power phase; or with younger athletes there some time available to develop technique for the Olympic Lifts.

The combinations you can use are endless and can be tailored to the athletes individual needs and goals of the specific training phase.

This movement preparation protocol is something I learnt from Ed Archer during my time working for him at the Athlete Academy. It was a system we used at the start of every training session with groups and individuals that has proven to be very effective for a number of reasons.

When starting out with a new client/athlete/team this is usually the first thing I will do with them as it provides me with a lot of info and I can start to make decisions about what is an appropriate starting point for them. It serves as a good screening process as immediately it gives you an idea of their capabilities in terms of co-ordination, flexibility, stability & strength.

From a coach’s perspective it ticks quite a lot of boxes the sequence contains movements through all three planes: sagittal, frontal & transverse so it’s providing a more varied stimulus than just getting people running/rowing/cycling at the start of a session. Our sports use movements in all three planes so let’s get the body moving through all of them from the start. It’s also providing a training stimulus for improving co-ordination, core strength, shoulder stability and single leg work.

The basic movement preparation sequence requires no equipment and once you’ve got it down you’ll be through it in as little as 6 minutes. One thing I must emphasize is that although this can be done in 6 minutes, don’t rush it & always aim for technical perfection and then progress the speed you execute it. Quality movement is the priority.

So here we go:

1) Hip Rolls x 10 Each Side


2) Knee Pull to Glute Bridge x 10


3) Mini-Lunge / Spiderman x 10 Each Side



4) Prisoner Squats x 10


Prisoner Squat


5) Press Up to Full Lunge/Spiderman x 10 (1 rep = 1 press up & 1 lunge on each side)





6) Power Position to Full Extension x 10



7) Forward Lunge x 10 Each Side



8) Side Lunge x 10 Each Side


9) One Leg Running Man x 10 Each Side


So those exercises cover the RAM of the RAMP – The ‘P’ I’ll take care of in another series of articles as depending on the training goal and the level of the athlete this will vary.

Give it a go, and leave me a comment to let me know what you think.