Rugby Strength Coach: How To Get A Job in S&C


Rugby Strength Coach: How To Get A Job in S&C

Keir Wenham-Flatt is the Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Pumas, and is back in the UK this December delivering 4 seminars on how to get a job in the highly competitive and crowded Strength & Conditioning industry.

Keir’s rise within the industry has meteoric from intern to international S&C coach in just 3 years, so get yourself to his seminars and find out how he did it!

Book on to Keir’s seminars here –

Keir has also teamed up with Nick Grantham, who is running workshops with us in February, to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care and the UKSCA’s Richard Holme Memorial Fund. Every person that signs up will also get a FREE copy of Nick’s book “You’re Hired: An Insider’s Guide to Becoming a Strength & Conditioning Coach” because Keir is donating £10 for every booking to these two great causes.


Morgan Wins Most Promising Rugby Player!



Worcester Rugby Camp Most Promising

Huge congratulations are in order for one of our young athletes. Having been undertaking a strength and conditioning programme for Rugby with Proformance for the last year Morgan has shown a very high level of dedication and a superb work ethic in his training sessions and has reaped the benefits of his hard work on the pitch. This season he has represented the Herefordshire County for his age group and been named the Most Promising Player at a recent Worcester Warriors Camp.

In the next few weeks we will be helping him prepare for trials with Gloucester Rugby Academy ensuring he can perform to the best of his ability on the day. Morgan we wish you all the best at the trials!

Post camp report

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Firstly a big thank to everyone who made the Proformance Rugby Camp on the 4th of April at St. Peter’s in Gloucester. We had a great day working with the group on a number of different areas.

Following the movement preparation session we started out performance testing where we assessed power, speed and agility with a series of tests. This allow us to establish all the young players current levels and will allow them to gauge their progress as they continue to train and develop.



After testing the groups split into rugby skills and a strength technique session. When learning about strength training it is or paramount importance the young athletes’ develop sound technique with little or no load.



As I’ve described in previous posts we use PVC pipe to establish the fundamentals before progressing on.

The facility we are operate from is set up for junior athletes and the picture below is one of the players training with an aluminium 7.5kg bar and 2.5kg plastic plates.

This equipment allows them to learn safely under low loads before they progress to the heavier olympic bars.



Outside of the gym Jack was working with the groups on key areas of their rugby skills with a lot of emphasis placed on making the right decision at the right time.



The day finished with a session dedicated to improving tackling skills and contact.

There were some great tacklers on display that really impressed the Proformance coaching team.





After a hard days work the lads were all rewarded with their own Proformance training shirts for their hard work both on and off the pitch. Thanks again to everyone who attended we hope to see you all again at the May Half Term Camp!



If you like the look of what you’ve seen tickets for the next Proformance Rugby Camp during May Half Term are on sale now online at

The camp is running Friday May 31st at St. Peter’s School, Gloucester for young rugby players aged U12-U16 – full details are available on our Workshops page




Athlete Monitoring

Following the article I posted on The Importance of Recovery I’ve been working on an athlete monitoring system to use with my athletes to track their wellness, nutrition and training load for various components of their training/playing schedule (calculated using Athlete’s session RPE x duration).

I’m sure there are mobile apps out there to monitor all of these variables but sometimes you can’t beat the simple pen & paper option!

I’ve seen & used a number of different diaries and templates in my time as an strength & conditioning coach but I thought it might be useful to plot everything on to a single chart to make it easier to identify patterns and links between the different areas.

In particular I wanted to be able to clearly highlight to athletes links between poor nutrition and inappropriately loaded training and their wellness scoring.

The wellness and training impulse (TRIMP) is a system I learnt whilst interning at Bristol Rugby under Tom McLaughlin (now Head of Physical Preparation at Connacht Rugby) it was a system he employed with great effect monitoring planned vs actual TRIMP scores.

I’ve adapted this system to include nutrition as some for some of the athletes I have worked with this is a problem area. I think it’s use could be combined with a regular jump test (e.g. drop jump, standing broad jump or vertical jump) that could be monitored over time to get an objective measure of their physical preparedness to undertake a specific training session when compared to their previous best jump recorded.

Below is the chart template  – this particular template was put together for a group of young tennis players – but I’d be interested to get feedback from anyone else. If anyone would like a copy of the excel/PDF files to try this out, you can download it.


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

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!

Wall Drills to improve acceleration technique

This is one of the most simple yet effective tools for coaching the correct position for acceleration and to begin getting strength gains made in the gym to transfer to actual movements.

The focus should be on quality execution of single repetitions to begin with and then you can to progress to executing ‘doubles’ & ‘triples’ when you are able to maintain the technique.

Start by using 2-3 sets of 8 single repetitions (4 on each leg) and take about 90-120 seconds between sets. I often use it at the end of a Movement Preparation sequence before heading into the main body of a session.