I’d break down the athletes as follows:
1. Too skinny and too weak.
2. Too fat and too weak.
I think generally we have really low standards as to what we think is ‘good’ regarding strength, speed and power.
Strength wins every single argument in sport…the reason that women don’t compete against men in contact sports is not due to a lack of technical ability it is just down to a lack of strength…pound for pound men are just stronger than women….it is the same reason that they have weight classes in fighting…lightweight fighters are not worse fighters technically than heavyweights…they just aren’t as strong.
How strong is strong enough…..I’m glad I asked….I think a reasonable standard for rugby is to be able to do a 2XBodyweight deadlift or squat, a 1.5XBodyweight bench press, 1.5XBodyweight pull up….these are all for a single rep. You should be able to do 15 reps with body weight on the squat and 10+ reps on the bench and pull ups with your body weight. You should also be able to do 45 press ups and 30+ inverted rows in 60 seconds.
So what does this mean….well if you are 100kg rugby player and you are serious about your sport then you should be able to do the following:
Squat/Deadlift = 200kg+
Bench Press = 150kg+
Pull Up = 1 rep with 50kg load
Repetition Squat = 15+ reps with 100kg
Repetition Bench Press = 10+ reps with 100kg
Repetition Pull Ups = 10+ reps with bodyweight
Push Ups = 45+ in 60 seconds
Inverted Rows = 30+ in 60 seconds
This is what I think is a ‘good’ strength standard….if you can do all these things….then you can be working on increasing your power, speed, agility and most importantly your skill and technical ability. If you can’t…then I don’t want to hear you talking about snatching or clean and jerking or anything else for that matter….because you are just TOO WEAK.
Strength is the vessel….power is what you put into it…so if you have a tiny vessel (too weak) then you can do all the power work you like and it won’t amount to anything because rugby unlike fighting is not governed by weight classes….strength always trumps everything when skill and technical ability are matched.