Applied Tempo Training For Rugby Athletes [Webinar Replay] - Complementary Training
Applied Tempo Training For Rugby Athletes [Webinar Replay]

Applied Tempo Training For Rugby Athletes

With Keir Wenham-Flatt

The webinar this month will be presented by Keir Wenham-Flatt. Keir is a rugby strength and conditioning specialist who has worked with professional teams on 4 different continents. He decided to share his remarkable video presentation with us and I would like to thank him for that as well as for being a Complementary Training member.


I have been working a lot recently on implementing tempo training as the primary tool for conditioning my athletes here at Toshiba. This is for a few different reasons:

  1. Lack of HR monitors
  2. A need to condition all my guys at once
  3. A lack of off-feet training equipment- if they have to run, it might as well be tempo
  4. Most importantly I have been changing my thinking and decided to give this approach a proper try

The following presentation is an introduction to tempo training, the possible mechanisms by which it works, the value of tempo versus a traditional conditioning tool like MAS running, an examination of classic T&F tempo recommendations, why that isn’t necessarily smart in rugby and what to do about it, and lastly to share with you the current model of tempo running that I am using with my athletes.

Not pictured in this presentation (for purposes of data protection/company policy- I can’t make our numbers public) is the effects of this training on our conditioning as a team. Since implementing this approach we broke all of our clubs records since using GPS in our first league match this year (distance, high speed running and high intensity accelerations). Similarly many players have broken their own personal bests for these metrics in a match, most notably a player who ran over 1000m more than his previous best, whilst weighing 5kg more.

Though there are many factors that will likely have contributed to these increases, the level of opposition, weather, pitch dimensions etc. are all consistent from last year, as are strength and power. The big differences this year are speed and conditioning i.e. we actually do them properly now. I attribute a proportion of these changes to the use of tempo, and I am excited to see how this system can be refined over my remaining time at the club.

Please let me know what you think of the presentation and direct your questions to this thread.


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Keir Wenham-Flatt is Coordinator of Football Performance, a role in which he oversees all aspects of the physical performance training of William & Mary’s football student-athletes. His duties include weight-room-based strength and power development, speed, agility, conditioning, and close integration with the football staff to monitor training load, offer sport science insights, and assist in the management of the training process.

Welcome to Complementary Training Community! Forums Applied Tempo Training For Rugby Athletes [Webinar Replay]

This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Bilal Yusuf 7 years, 4 months ago.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • 13/11/2016 at 23:44 #18843

    Great presentation! How do you schedule the tempo training if you play on sundays?

    14/11/2016 at 04:41 #18844

    Awesome, thanks for the insight mate. Good to see the practical application as well.

    15/11/2016 at 14:03 #18854

    Great Presentation!!
    Just one observation/question….
    If you look at a rugby will normally see that the forwards first must execute a power activity and then run a longer distance with the ball eg. Break through 2 defenders and then run/sprint.
    With back line players the opposite happens…especially the backs in the wider channels first run/sprint with the ball and then a power activity must be preformed eg. spin or side step…

    When using tempo phase 3…can you put the power activity (shuttles etc) at the beginning of the run?? and for the backs the power activity at the end of the run??

    What do you think?

    02/12/2016 at 15:56 #18905

    Tuesday would be my choice. Day off on Monday.

    02/12/2016 at 16:09 #18906

    I think it is hard to apply that level of precision between the positions. When they have the ball that may be true of the backs, but most of their high intensity runs are done without the ball, in support, constantly adjusting their lines. Likewise, are we differentiating between the outside backs, or the scrum halves, who would usually be stepping, cutting or swerving and then running? I would just keep it as simple as make sure you’re doing some running, make sure you’re doing some changing of direction and some getting up and down, then the rest is up to you. Feel free to play with the concept as you like.

    03/01/2017 at 16:41 #18995

    Great Presentation Keir !

    During the in season would you continue to do tempo runs twice a week ?

    Also in season would you maintain the same volume for tempos that you built up in the final phase of training ?


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