Locker room | All things fitness with the All Blacks
Getting a sweat on a couple of times a week is good for us, whether you’re a powerlifter or a park runner.
But sometimes you need to shake up your regular fitness routine and get a bit of guidance from the experts. Which is where we come in.
At AIG, we’re official sponsors of New Zealand Rugby, who (as you might have guessed) have access to some of the world’s top fitness experts. Here’s what Nic Gill, the All Blacks’ strength and conditioning coach, had to say when we quizzed him on all things fitness.
The good news is that we’ve got some top advice for our customers too, through the support on offer from our award-winning Smart Health service.
Nic Gill answers our questions
Q: What are the benefits of staying physically fit and healthy?
A: The benefits are numerous. You’ve got more energy, reduced stress, a better mood and improved discipline and motivation. And you’re likely to have a reduced risk of serious health issues.
Your Smart Health support: As part of Smart Health, you’ve got access to tailored fitness plans for whatever your physical goal might be – whether that’s losing weight, getting toned or shaking up your routine. Our experts will create either a four or eight week plan designed especially for you and support you along the way – there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Q: How does your role as strength and conditioning (S&C) coach fit in with the wider All Blacks support team? Do you work closely with other coaches?
A: I’m part of the health and performance team, which includes another S&C coach, a physiotherapist, nutritionist, manual therapist and a doctor. As a team, we’re responsible for the health and physical ability of the players. Every single game, I work closely with the rugby coaches to ensure the players are capable of doing what they want to an exceptional level.
Your Smart Health support: The great news when it comes to Smart Health you’ve got a team of experts on your side too. You can access an online GP, have a health check, access advice from a nutritionist, get a second medical opinion or chat to a psychologist about your mental health, all on top of your bespoke fitness plan.
Smart Health is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no limits on how many times you can use it. There’s access for your family too, including your partner and any children aged up to 21. Start your Smart Health journey.
Q: What does a typical All Blacks workout routine look like?
A: Sometimes, we plan 2-3 sessions a day. Here’s some typical suggestions of what the team might get up to, depending on what that day’s focus is.
- Mobility – something like a stretching session
- Muscle activation – exercises include press ups, bulgarian split squats, TYIs and lunges
- Strength focus – players would turn to the weights, completing heavy squats or power cleans, bench presses or loaded chin ups
- Energy development – we’d expect to see the All Blacks doing bike sprints and intervals
- Core workout – some of the team’s favourites are Russian twists and reverse crunches
Your Smart Health support: Want to work out like an All Black for yourself? Then check out our latest series of videos for exercise routines straight from the team camp – there’s leg, arm and core options to get stuck in to. Let us know how you get on by tagging @AIGLifeUK and using #AIGWorkout on social media.
Q: Why do different players and positions have different training schedules and workout routines?
A: Just like you and I, their needs and skills are different, so their routine reflects that. Whether it’s genetics, previous injuries or training history, they’ve got different physical attributes and training requirements. And some players in certain positions on the pitch need to be able to do certain things – e.g. run fast, jump high or push hard. So a player’s individual programme will reflect their position’s requirements and their individual needs, based on age, history, strengths, weaknesses, injury etc.
Your Smart Health support: Our ‘exercise at home’ guide has got top tips for keeping in shape, whatever your fitness level or needs might be. There’s some ideas for every member of the family too, from children to grandparents – get them involved.
Q: And finally, are there any great exercise stories from within the ABs camp? Who can lift the most? Do the players have any favourite/least favourite exercise routines?
A: They love to compete, so any routine that requires a bit of rivalry with one another is a hit. The 5m and 10m sprint races definitely create competition, fun and banter, alongside some amazing training intensity. One thing’s for certain, the All Blacks do not enjoy losing anything.
The strongest players are the props – they weigh about 125kg on average and can squat with about 230-260kg on their back. And some can bench press 180kg. In stark contrast, the outside backs run 32-36km per hour in training and in games.
The favourite exercises in camp are definitely all things strength related. They love to lift heavy weights and move heavy things quickly, so pushing sleds, throwing medicine balls, benching and squatting are right up there. Really anything that is likely to help them be able to move the opposition about on the field.