A visit to any elite sports organisation is a real privilege and our trip to see Aviva Premiership clubSaracenswas no different. On a sunny Monday afternoon we headed to their training facility just outside St. Albans to watch the senior squad being put through their paces out on the training pitch.
After a quick break the team moved to the gym for a strength and conditioning session and it was time for us to catch up with Performance Director Phil Morrow and Andy Edwards, Strength and Conditioning Coach for Saracens.
Phil and Andy have been using the Wattbike smart bike trainer to build up an invaluable database of performance parameters for players across the range of positions in rugby union. Depending on the specific demands of the players' role within the team the coaches will set very different Wattbike workouts as part of their overall conditioning programme.
Wattbike sessions range from long distance-based workouts to much shorter power-based efforts with popular session including 40'/20' intervals, 6 x 500 metres and 6 x 1km. The longer sessions are used with players who require more aerobic and anaerobic conditioning rather than those needing pure strength.
Every Monday the players will conduct a peak power test as part of the monitoring of fatigue levels. This is a common test amongst all of the elite national and international rugby teams using the Wattbike. The bigger guys in the squad are comfortably hitting over 2000 watts during a peak power effort.
The Wattbike is also playing a role in helping injured players to continue with cardiovascular work, taking advantage of the non-loading bearing sessions available with indoor cycling.
We chatted with hooker Jamie George, one of the big young talents at Saracens and asked him how he found the Wattbike. The conclusion is that the some of the players might not like the Wattbike during a hard session but they certainly appreciate that it's making them better, stronger players for the coming season.
We'd like to thank the players and coaching staff at Saracens for being so generous with their time and we look forward to catching up with them during the season.