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Thursday, January 26, 2006


General discussions: Conditioning tests – What and why?

Over the past few months people asked what are tested when the Springboks do their conditioning tests and in some cases the need for these tests was questioned. The following will shed some light on what is tested and why it is needed.

Source: Health24

Measuring explosive power

Vertical jump test

The vertical jump test measures leg power. One common way of performing this test is to stand side- on to a wall and reach up with the hand closest to the wall, keeping the feet flat on the ground. The highest point the fingertips can reach is marked. The athlete then jumps vertically as high as possible to touch the wall at the highest point of the jump. The difference between the reach height and the jump height is the score.

The Springbok locks obviously need to be able to jump high in the lineout, and thus their vertical jump figure should be at least 65cm. This test doesn’t just test the ability to leap up, however – it also gives an indication of explosive power, which is very important for the backs.

Springbok Rugby fitness norms (cm)

Inside backs, 65
Outside backs, 68
Loose forwards, 62
Locks, 65
Hookers, 60
Props, 55

Very good explosive power, indicated by the vertical jump, is in the 61-70cm range for men and 51-60cm for women. More than that is excellent. The average is about 41-50 for men and 31-40 for women.

10m Sprint

Similarly, the 10m sprint, which is done on a rugby field, tests explosive power – specifically, the ability to accelerate rapidly and powerfully. This is particularly important for the backs, but most of all for the inside backs when they make a dash for a gap in the opposition’s defence. Thus, their maximum time to run the 10m is only 1.65 seconds.

Springbok Rugby fitness norms (sec)

Inside backs, 1.65
Outside backs, 1.68
Loose forwards, 1.72
Locks, 1.75
Hookers, 1.75
Props, 1.80

How do you measure aerobic fitness?

Aerobic fitness is the body’s ability to perform exercise for sustained periods – such as the length of a rugby game. These tests give a general indication of a player’s overall fitness. The figures the Boks are expected to achieve here require very good levels of aerobic fitness, but are not as high as would be expected in sports where running is more of a specialised skill, such as track athletics.

Bleep test

The bleep test is also known as the multistage fitness test, shuttle run test or beep test. It is a strenuous test that involves continuous running between two lines. These are placed 20m apart and the players run in time to recorded ‘bleeps’.
The time between the bleeps decreases with each minute (also called the ‘level’).
There are several versions of the test, but one commonly used demands an initial running velocity of 8.5 km/hr, which increases by 0.5 km/hr each minute. The player’s score is the level and number of shuttles they could reach before they could no longer keep up with the ‘bleeps’.

Springbok Rugby fitness norms (Level)

Inside backs, 13.5
Outside backs, 13.5
Loose forwards, 13.0
Locks, 12.5
Hookers, 13.0
Props, 11.5

3km run

The 3km run test checks the ability to maintain a moderately high level of effort for sustained periods: 3km represents the total distance covered during a game of top level rugby. Quite simply, player is timed to see how long it takes him to run 3km in tackies on a track.

The required times (from 12 minutes 45 seconds for a prop to 11 minutes 5 seconds for a back) are quite hard going, but should be within the capabilities of a fit young amateur sportsman.

Springbok Rugby fitness norms (min/sec)

Inside backs, 11.15
Outside backs, 11.15
Loose forwards, 11.45
Locks, 12.15
Hookers, 12.00
Props, 12.45

Measuring anaerobic fitness

Repeat sprint ability

Anaerobic fitness is the ability of the muscles to repeatedly perform short bursts of vigorous exercise. In rugby, with its successive phases, a player needs to keep performing in repeated bursts of activity, with little or no recovery in between. This test measures the player’s ability to maintain a high level of effort during sprints or successive periods of contact work during the game.

For the test the player runs back and forth over a 125 metre distance marked on the rugby field. He attempts to cover as much distance as possible in 30 seconds, then rests for 35 seconds. This is repeated six times, and the total distance covered is calculated in metres.

The difference between the required score and the test score indicates the amount of fatigue experienced by the athlete, which gives an indication of his anaerobic fitness levels.

Springbok Rugby fitness norms (m)

Inside backs, 780
Outside backs, 780
Loose forwards, 760
Locks, 750
Hookers, 750
Props, 720

Measuring speed

40m sprint

The 40m sprint or speed test, like the 10m, is done on the field. The main aim of the 40m is to measure maximum running speed, which is of greatest importance to the speedsters in the back. A wing or fullback should be able to do the 40m in 5.10 seconds with ease. New-generation forwards are not allowed to be laggards though; even the props must make the distance in 5.65 seconds.

Springbok Rugby fitness norms (sec)

Inside backs, 5.25
Outside backs, 5.10
Loose forwards, 5.30
Locks, 5.50
Hookers, 5.50
Props, 5.65

cool stuff, pity no names were given but then i guess the arti would be 12 pages long.........  
Am I pleased I'm not a Bok. Can you imagine having to do all that.  
Well take that you doubting Toms

These buggers earn their pay

Warm up is not rubbing deep heat and farting last night's steak-anymore.
Would be interesting comparing actual results.

The benchmark for props to bench press is 1 and a half times their body weight.

If I remember correctly Eddie Andrews was the best at about 165kg's. If that was true, I can now understand why the forwards is struggling.
I guess Jake might have a point when critisising the S14 and provincial coaches on the conditioning of their players.  
Bloody excellent information, Donner!!

Eish, the days of having a quiet jog around the field are long gone.

Look at videos of the 80's, none of those guys, in the condition they were in then, would compete today. Well, at least not many.
I don't think Domkrag could actually jump.  


Neither could Flippie, Vleis needed the biggest props in the world to illegally lift him ;-)
Speaking of which... what the hell actually happened to Lood Muller? He of the Charles Bronson moustache...  
Donner, CJ is the new best at 180 or 190 kg's.

Sheridan does 215 kg's.

The Pom forwards all do in the region of 180 + kgs.

We were much worse before Jake introduced REGULAR and consistent testing.
Poor vleis :(  

Well the guys better step it up. We are going to see defensive style rugby for the next ten years, if teh forwards doesn't realise what the standards are.

We can't blame the Bok coaches for this. This is the provincial coaches responsibility.
Ja Rob but tanks don't usually jump.

They just roll forward over everything in their way.

The youngsters may be fit, but the oldies were strong. Mentally and physically strong.

Moer an oke nowadays and he squeals like a girl and leaves the field.

My grandfather told me in his day, you only left the field before the final whistle dead. He once finished a provincial game with a broken nose and one of their locks once finished with a broken arm in another match.

Colin Meades played in the 1970's series in SA with a broken arm. Now let me ask you this. Do you reckon the Bakkies Botha "hardmen" of today would be able to do that?

The oldtsres were as hard as these youngsters but that was because they did physical things - remember Pote Fourie of the Old Northern Transvaal was a train shunter.

Ja, try pushing trains around a station all day. Guess you need to be f---ing hard to do that my friend.

What about Lem the farmer. Those boerseuns were damned hard too, wrestling a young calf to the ground isn't easy you know. Oh, and what about carrying streepsakke like old Martiens Le Roux did to get fit.

Methods may now be more refined but nobody's going to tell me the oldsters weren't fir and certainly harder than these new crop of machined athletes.
I remember watching Hendrik Truter (FS fullback) finish a game with a broken nose back in 91 or so. Haven't seen anything even close since then.  

A shunter didn't actually push around the train carriages. He just instructed the driver of the locomotive what to do via a two way radio.

I would like to see someone able to push around train carriages for a living. :-)
Thing is, David, the game is FAR more intense today. No 10 minute mauls, far more phases, far more tackles made.

You simply cannot play with a broken arm these days.

On top of that, the Med staff want you off and being treated immediately in order to have you back in top condition ASAP.

So, Bakkies MIGHT want to play with a broken arm but Jake would fire him!

Your point is valid though, we are softies today in comparison to our grandfathers, and they were softies in comparison to theirs. 70 years ago, most people were blue collar, labouring working class. Increasingly, more people are moving into the television, sedentary lifestyle.

The oldies were naturally hard, the guys today have to get themselves that way.
Hehe Donner, good point.

Old people are allways harder. They allways tell you how they had to walk 20 km's in a snow blizzard to school. Then after walking 20 km's back to their house, they had to plough the field in 36 degrees celcius heat! Allways wondered how it could snow in the morning and be that warm in the afternoon. But if you question uit, you get told that in those days they were beaten with a sambok with nails in the front!
I agree with Ras, even though the hero's of old were harder, I doubt that they'd be able to compete today. They were never fit enough. Yes they didn't play rugby full time, but that's just it. They don't have time to be as fit. They'd fall down after 20min's of gametime today.  
you also got that school story aldo?!?!?!?!?!?

man i thought that was the funniest shit ever.

"dad i need new school shoes"

"NEW SHOES!!!!! i walked 20 km to school when i was young on a gravel road with bare feet!!!!!

"but i thought you went to a farm school on the farm?"

"shut up and go wash the car you wise-ass!"
No Aldo

In the first ruck the oldies would casually 'assert authority' in the time honoured way and half the youngsters would be 'removed by medical staff' so that they 'won't be hurt to badly'.

By 20 minutes into the game the oldies will be on the field alone.

My grandfather told me in one match he played in WW2 against the Kiwis no less a gentleman as Felix Du Plessis urged him to "skop die bliksem" when some Kiwi moered him.
See you and I think the same PA.  

most of these pissies today wont last 10 min against these guys!!!!

i'd still back them to beat the machines of today
Hehe Pissant, most of those school conversations went like that! That's the funniest shit ever. When I was in grade 2, I had to take my father a bucket of water. I complained about it being heavy, he told me: " Shut up en bring hier daardie emmer! Toe ek so oud soos jy was moes ek 'n kruiwa vol bakstene oor berge stoot! Nou kla jy oor 'n emmer water!!!". Must say, I can't complain, my father (actually my stepfather) did teach me most of the values that people compliment me on today.  

Did you ever ask him why he needed to push a wheelbarrow over the mountain?
Nope Davids and Pissant, I still disagree. I still rate todays guys above those oldies.  
davids - who was your grandpappy?  
good question donner?  
No Donner. Are you crasy?! He'd kick my arse for asking something like that! It would go something like "Dink jy, jy is snaak? (klap!). Kom terug, waarheen hardloop jy!!!? Nou het ek jou, jou klein $^%&$$#!". So no, I never asked.  
Sissie!!!!!!!!! :-)

I'm not a sissy. You should see my father, he's built like a brickhouse. Must be all the wheelbarrow pushing as a boy. All the people I've met in my life, are afraid of him. He's a nice man, with a good heart, but don't dare cross him. He'd kick your arse just like that.  
Ouens, i am like sooooo freakin bored. i just feel like chillin on the beach or taking a nap...

where is everyone? davids, knadas, lekkading?
So aldo, does he still put you over his lap and give you a spanking? lol  
That's just sick WPW! He doesn't, since standard 6, it's been more like a fist in the ribs. Sore enough to scare me off.  

Boet Oberholzer

Played for Eastern Transvaal in the 40's and 50's

Also played for the unofficial Boks in the tests during the war.

Pieter "Boet" Oberholzer

Also played for Northern Rhodesia in the 50's and early 60's

He was hooker and a miner by profession

As hard as they come.

Aldo, I'd like to see some pissy like John Smit go into a ruck with my Oupa aged 25 and walk out alive.
I remember reading an article about Tiaan Srauss some time ago about him wrestling a blouwildebees to the ground. He vacations also every December at the same place as I do, and he is a BIG, STRONG fucker. My kids used to play touchrugby on the beach with him.
I guess the old folks were more "work active" than today's guys. So from a really young age, they had to do manual labour, which developed the "inner muscles". I believe they were naturally much stronger then, but not necesserally "cardio fit", that is needed to run, apply power AND think for 100 mins.
Hey David,

That little piece about John Smit and your Oupa was priceless. I had a good deep belly-laugh over that one. I also believe it as well,

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