Rugby League Training Drill 3: Catch Bar Squats

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Rugby League Training Drill 3: Catch Bar Squats

Rugby League is a high intensity, high speed sport that requires repetitive powerful movements to be performed in movements such as accelerating, sprinting and tackling. The deep barbell squat is primarily used to develop the players strength through range, but the catch bar squats allow us to address triple extension through the hip, knees and ankles in a more high speed, powerful movement. This exercise can also be performed in a split stance to further mimic the tackling position.

This exercise isolates the explosive lifting phase of the normal back squat movement.

Rugby League Training Drill 3- Catch Bar Squats 1You need to use a power rack to perform catch bar squats. To set up the squat machine for catch bar squats you need to set the ‘catch’ based on your height. To do this stand with the unloaded bar on the back of the shoulders at the base of the neck. Slowly bend your knees while keeping your torso erect to the point of 45° of knee flexion. This is the point at which you should set the safety bars so that the barbell is fully supported by the rack. With the barbell resting on the safety bars, add the appropriate weight. With the loaded bar on the back of the shoulders at the base of the neck, return to standing position with explosive movement.

In my own training programs I prescribe 3-5 sets of 2-4 reps at greater than 100% of your back squat 1RM. For true power development pair each set of this exercise with low repetition, full depth back squats performed at 80-90% of your 1RM.

Although we tend not to individualise the lifting loads for this exercise, our professional players will lift between 150-200kg for up to 4 repetitions.


Jeremy Hickmans
Jeremy Hickmans is the Performance Director for Wayne Bennet and the Newcastle Knights
Please click here to learn more about Jeremy Hickmans and purchase his Rugby League Training Programs.

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