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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

Fancy a gawk around Leinster's gym? Come with us...

Leinster’s head of fitness Daniel Tobin talks us through a regular day under the roof of their shiny new facility.

A REGULAR WEEK at the purpose-built Leinster Rugby gym in UCD gets underway a little after dawn with the strength and conditioning team making sense of GPS data.

The figures will show the exertions from each player during the weekend fixture: did they run a greater distance, sprint more, were they involved in more collisions than usual?

These are the red flags Daniel Tobin is keeping an eye out for as head of fitness.


“We also look at guys who did a lot of training in the previous three weeks or who played a lot of consecutive games,” says Tobin, “we start trying to pick off players that we need to manage during the week.”

 Anti-gravity treadmills and Watt bikes: exactly where players don’t want to be during the season


“We’ll meet as a medical team [combined S&C, physios and doctors] at about 9am on the Monday morning and we’ll go through all that from an injury point of view. Who has knocks, stingers, who can’t commit to training that day? Who is off their feet completely, who can do some modified training?”

When the backroom team head to the gym floor they’ll find players have already been tested on equipment that gauges their range of movement.

This charts their shoulder range


Sit and reach along these measurements


Place a knee on this to measure hip internal rotation


Players log the results into these tablets and the data is immediately available to the backroom team


Once Tobin has all the data and a list of players who need to manage a knock or an injury and those who are good to go, Monday morning’s leg session begins at 10am.

“We might reduce the load, but what we do more often that not is actually remove them from the programme on the Monday. If it’s a Saturday game, most of the guys who started wouldn’t lift on Monday. Then we’ll work back from that: we’ll go down and guys will say: ‘No, I feel really good and I want to do something’.

“We usually allow the 48 hour period, but in that case we might do a modified version like just one-leg exercises.”


When it comes to strength training, Tobin allows a fluid definition for the purposes of day-to-day work-outs in Clonskeagh. The running track below provides plenty of room for plyometrics (for speed and agility).


Using that as a main component, a regular leg day will then take players to a set of squats


There are six ‘Olympic’ weight platforms with a rubber base


After the two main components, players are sent for ‘targeted prehab work’ to focus in and strengthen an area that may be problematic. And within 50 minutes, they’re done and headed for meetings and an on-field training session.

“[Monday] would be our busiest day because you’re dealing with so many acute issues after a game. It gets easier as the week goes on because guys recover more and you’re dealing with less acute risks as the week goes on.”

A quick post work-out stop in the players’ cafe


Past the supplements room


The second day of a training week will be focused on the upper body


Again the sessions will be short and sharp, players asked to work out in four core motions

The four being: pressing away from the chest, pulling into the chest, pulling down towards and pushing up from the shoulders.

Sounds easy until you get to do it.


Lastly, if players are feeling hungry for more, the dumbbells


They’re branded which is pretty cool


Source: Leinster Rugby TV/YouTube

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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