Rugby Sevens athletes are a rare breed. Not only do they need the strength of their 15-a-side counterparts, they also need the speed and agility to cover the same space with half the players. Sevens is all about free-flowing rugby, shuddering tackles and clocking up more miles in seven minutes than most people can cover in weeks worth of training.
The format of the game demands a brutal mix of speed, agility and huge take downs in defense, while offense rivals an endurance sport. Sevens players need to be finely tuned weapons of mass destruction, sustaining superpower strength and lightning speed, often in back to back periods during tournaments.
With the HSBC Sydney 7s is just around the corner, followed by the Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup in the States, we turned to Australian’s Men’s Sevens Captain and Olympian Lewis Holland to reveal his top tips on performing like a world class athlete.
Spoiler: It’s all in the training.
1. Abs are made in the kitchen
We’ve all heard it before – eating the right foods make a massive difference in performance, and it’s true. Pack your fridge with protein, good fats, veggies and carbs. Kick start each day with some carbs and lean protein for breakfast. Then eat every 3-4 hours and within 90 minutes of working out.
2. Power up your playlist
Find some good beats and stick with them. Listening to the same songs for a week keeps you focused and makes you push yourself that little bit further the next time round.
3. Train in pairs
Training with a mate isn’t just more fun, it’s more effective. You can set targets together and egg each other on while forgetting about the pain.
4. Stretch it out
We’re often keen to just get stuck into training, but warming up first makes the world of difference. Spend at least 15 minutes doing a light jog or low impact session. After training, although it’s tempting to crawl on out, treat yourself to some recovery such as foam rolling or stretching – your future self will thank you.
5. Take a different track
Mix up your workout and get outdoors. Sprint on soft sand, climb a mountain, swing on ropes – do whatever it takes to shock your body and get results faster.
6. Challenge your weak points
Your body is only as strong as your weakest link. The quicker you address the muscles or joints that struggle the quicker you become faster, stronger and less prone to injury.
7. Hit the sack
Sleep is the number one form of recovery. Aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep each night – and ideally before 11pm for optimal hormonal release.
You can catch Lewis and the Australian Sevens teams up close and personal at the HSBC Sydney Sevens from January 26-28. Tickets start at just $20 via Ticketek.