Being Explosive in the Lineout

May 8, 2017

A lineout, just like the scrum, is an instrumental part of any team’s tactics. Success within the lineout can be the difference between victory and defeat, and I’m sure it will play a large part in this summer’s Lions tour test matches.

We’ve all been there; when your team is down by a try and have an attacking lineout in the dying seconds of the game. The hooker makes the call and it’s all up to the line to do their job…the ball goes up and the chosen players set to jump and lift. Coordinating both force and timing is key to ensure possession is retained.

So as the Lions prepare to go into battle, the lineout will be a key focus of preparation for the coaching staff, but what can the conditioning team do to develop that lineout play?

For the purpose of this article, I’m going to break the lineout into two parts – the lifters and the jumper.

Both vital roles, both similar in their need for explosive power and the full body working as one.

The jumper will have their feet shoulder width apart and on the call will explode up into a powerful upward drive reaching for the ball, while the lifters combine full body strength, power and core stability to raise the jumper to the heights of the winning ball. 

The jumper needs power in their core, hips and legs to drive up, and although jumpers generally set up with a narrow stance it is important to develop the whole leg muscle, in order to become efficient at this movement.

Movements such as deadlifts, power squats at all 3 stances, plyometric and core holds are all vital elements to the success of the jumper.

The lifters need to ensure their whole body can work as one to generate core balance and full body strength and power. In essence this creates a movement very similar to a clean and press.

Within the line you could end up as either the lifter or the jumper, dependent upon the call, so the ability to be able to perform both roles is vital.

Try the following circuit to develop full body strength, core development and stamina.

Following a suitable warm up complete the following circuit using a weight that allows you to complete 10 reps, with the last few reps being tough but safe reps.

For the plank aim for 1-minute and for core exercises (E.g. leg raisers and crunches) complete at least of 30 reps.

Due to the level of lower body exercises within this session, complete just one circuit to begin with, then as conditioning improves add in extra circuits. Alternatively complete one full circuit followed by conditioning on the rowing machine, which is another fantastic exercise for full body muscle activation and stamina.

  • Narrow stance squats
  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • Leg raises
  • Medium stance squats
  • Plank
  • Plyometric lunges
  • Barbell Clean and press
  • Wide stance squats
  • Crunches
  • Kettlebell/dumbbell swings
  • Barbell deadlifts

Rowing machine: 5 X 1-minute sprint with all-out effort, 30 seconds rest

This workout will provide the explosive strength and power, stamina, core strength and full body coordination of muscle activation to provide a suitable session for any player that may find their way into the lineout. 

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