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How We’re Maintaining Fitness During Lockdown

Since the lockdown began the Sheffield Vulcans have had plenty of downtime since the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic sunk its nails deep into the flesh of this planet. Not only were our Tuesday night training sessions suspended indefinitely, but the government only allowed us to leave our homes once a day initially, restricting the amount of exercise we could do outside of our homes.

Thankfully, this didn’t stop the Vulcans from working on our fitness. Every Tuesday for the past nine weeks we’ve been taking part in remote HIIT sessions delivered by the fantastic Analise Moran from Moran Personal Training. Taking to our bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms and gardens, we’ve been squatting, planking, and becoming sweaty messes with the goal of maintaining our fitness.

In addition to this our very own Liam Goodwin came up with a solution to keep the team engaged between HIIT sessions by using Strava, a popular fitness tracking app. Liam noticed that a few of the team were already on there tracking workouts during lockdown in an effort to remain active and sane. Other rugby and sports clubs had set themselves up on Strava and we thought it was a great idea, so got Sheffield Vulcans set-up and encouraged the team to get involved in weekly distance challenges.

The first week had a positive response with roughly half of the club signing up to take on 100km, which we had exceeded by Wednesday. As a result the target was doubled, and by the end of the week the team flew past the revised target with an incredible distance of 287km. This was mirrored by the results of the second week which saw the Vulcans smash the 300km target with 433km in total.

During this time Liam saw a growth in interest amongst the team thanks in part to the weekly leader board and results, adding friendly competition into the mix. Some eager beavers have been getting out multiple times a day with an eye on the top three spots, whilst others are happy doing their own thing pushing themselves individually. Being an inclusive team consisting of people of all ages and ability, we ensured the challenge allowed members to walk, run or cycle any distance they felt comfortable with. Furthermore, the challenge has provided the perfect opportunity for some of our Vulcans to spend time with one another (within government guidelines of course).

Recently, we’ve celebrated our third weekly result and managed to complete a collective distance of 602.31km, which is the equivalent of running from Plymouth to Middlesbrough. Each week the target grows, and we’ve now added an extra mini-challenge for all members to complete a minimum 10km distance across the week.

On reflection, we can’t thank Liam and Analise enough keeping us Vulcans engaged and motivated to keep our fitness up. The benefits of taking on these challenges have helped us to work together, motivate one another, and ultimately bring us closer together as a team even though we’re physically far apart. We know one day the lockdown will end and we will all return to Sheffield Tigers to continue our training ready for next season. Until then, the team will continue to support one another and smash our weekly targets.

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Captain’s Log – The importance of self care during lockdown

Captain, Innes MacLeod has a message to share about the importance of self care and why lockdown isn’t stopping him from looking forward.

During the lockdown it is important to think about being kind to yourself. That can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s indulging your sweet tooth, getting an extra hour’s sleep or simply grabbing 5 minutes of quiet time in a busy household. Over the past few weeks I have been increasingly thinking about how the way I treat myself, physically and mentally, has been restricted and the efforts I can make to find space and time for this.

We are being bombarded with the truism that the current restrictions are damaging for our mental and physical health. This is something I have been feeling keenly recently. Under normal circumstances I would spend an evening or two a week with my fellow Vulcans. As you might expect of any IGR club the Vulcans provide a fantastic community feeling which I am sorely missing. In addition, the routine and physical exertion of training has been hugely beneficial to my mental health and being apart from this has had its impact.

As a club we have tried to be innovative and have introduced zoom training sessions. For an hour a week we get together and squat, jump and stretch from our respective bedrooms, living rooms and gardens. While for some this might sound less than fun the return of routine, the ability to see my friends and the physical benefits have helped enormously with the challenge of lockdown. The benefit of regular exercise on mental health is by no means a silver bullet but is well accepted and I find it a useful tool for keeping my spirits up through this time.

Weekly high intensity exercise may sound like the opposite of being kind to yourself to some and as someone who always preferred the pie and chips after playing rugby than the game itself I can sympathise. Finding something that is accessible, enjoyable and fits in with your day to day can be hard. Even making time for a short walk every day has been hugely beneficial for me. With the streets and parks being relatively quiet I find this not only good exercise but a good time to clear my head of the busyness of work and the often gloomy daily news. An important aspect of mindfulness is bringing yourself into the present moment and being more aware of your body and surroundings. A quiet walk is often a great opportunity to do this. I’ve started noticing new buildings and great views of the city from the streets around my flat. These moments give me time to reflect and leave me feeling more positive and able to take on the day.

This is what works for me but it is important to find what works for you whether it’s yoga, chairobics, running or following the lead of my partner and buying an inflatable kayak to take up the local canal. Making time to be kind to your body and mind can help you through the lockdown.

Want to learn more about the Sheffield Vulcans’ plans for the 2019/2020 season? Get in touch today by emailing committee@sheffieldvulcans.com

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How the Sheffield Vulcans helped heal my relationship with straight men

Archie shares his experience about growing up surrounded by women, his taut relationship with straight men, and how joining an inclusive Rugby team has helped him heal old wounds, and create new amazing relationships!

“I grew up in a household with 5 women. I had 4 older sisters and my mom. Then along came my sister’s girl-friends, my aunties and more! I was surrounded by women, all the time, which meant that I found it more comfortable to be around women as that’s all I knew. My closest friends have always been girls throughout primary school, secondary school, college and so on. This wasn’t just because of familiarity, it was also because for most of my life I’ve feared straight men.”

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Picking a starting Lions XV based on the 6 Nations.

By Charlie PM

After instinctively opening BBC sport for the sixteenth time today, only to be met with another update of which sport has been added to the ‘indefinitely suspended’ list, it seemed like a good time to reflect on where the 6 Nations has left the status of international rugby.

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Age Is No Barrier: how I got involved with inclusive rugby even though I’m not in my 20s

Sheffield is a university city, and so like some other clubs we have a younger demographic of students or recent graduates. However Glenn Allen wanted to share his experiences of being part of the Sheffield Vulcans and getting involved with Inclusive Rugby, even though he isn’t in his 20s 😉

“I played a lot of Rugby, in my hometown, at Uni and for Sheffield Tigers but finished at the age of 28. Torn knee ligaments in a skiing accident caused me to miss the second half of that season, slow rehabilitation and a promotion at work meant my priorities changed and I never went back the following season. That was the year 2000. Continue reading

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Sheffield Vulcans vs Newcastle Ravens

Date: 11th January 2020
Location: Sheffield Tigers RUFC, Sheffield

The Vulcans welcomed the Ravens to a cold and windy Dore Moor, as we were hosted for the second time by Sheffield Tigers.

The game was organised over four, 20-minute quarters to enable both squads to gain plenty of game time, by allowing rolling subs, in what was to be a good experience for both clubs, with both teams debuting players.

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6 Nations Predictions 2020 by Charlie PM

It’s finally here. It’s finally time to fill that big Tokyo shaped hole in your heart with 8 weeks of everyone’s favourite annual sporting occasion. On Saturday the Six Nations is here, and it might be the tightest to call for some time.

While that might be an almost unbearable cliche, any tournament following a World Cup inevitably bears the scars of the highs and lows experienced by its competitors within those tumultuous 6 weeks, and I see this year being no exception. Continue reading

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How To Get Ruck Ready – General Fitness

Rugby is a game for people of all shapes and sizes, but even the bulkiest of forwards needs to be able to last for a full 80 minutes on the pitch.

Although cardio fitness is important, exercises like running tend not to prepare people for Rugby – which is a high impact, fast paced game. In this, our first fitness blog post, Dan J writes about some different ways to get your body ready to play Rugby Union.

Low impact, high intensity workouts

Low impact activities are great preparation for Rugby games as you can make great gains in fitness while minimising your risk of injury before your games.

If you have access to the facilities, group classes can really boost your fitness and get your body in the habit of changing the way you breathe depending on what you’re doing. Activities like spinning, HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes and circuit training are amongst the best, and many teams participate in them as groups or individuals.

If your gym doesn’t offer group classes, you can still use the equipment to your advantage. Instead of running at a constant speed for half an hour on the treadmill, try alternating jogging and sprinting in 45 second intervals for a total of 15 minutes. I guarantee you will be more tired afterwards! If you have access to a pool, try alternating lengths of a gentle stroke like breast stroke with a sprint stroke like front crawl or, if you’re feeling particularly masochistic, butterfly.

If you aren’t able to get down to the gym, though, there is plenty you can do without having to use equipment or rely on instructors. The Vulcans have started incorporating HIIT circuits into their training routines by having four or five rounds doing short bursts of different exercises. These were inspired by James Haskell, and only take about 15-20 minutes. An example could be five rounds of the following exercises:

20s press ups
20s sit ups
20s high knee running on the spot
20s ice skaters
90s rest

When you’re designing your HIIT circuit, ensure you choose actives that work different parts of the body for each short burst. That way it will be a more beneficial whole body work out, and will enable you to put 100% effort into every exercise, even on the fifth round!

Stretched arms… strong!

When you’re done sweating it out, don’t forget to stretch! Stretching is a vital part of every exercise session – not only to reduce the risk of cramp and injury, but taking a few minutes to yourself and standing still can relieve you of stress and anxiety; and can set you up for the rest of your day. Not every muscle can be stretched, but ensure you hit the major muscle groups in your legs, arms, chest, and back.

With these high intensity workouts being so short, not having time is no longer an excuse not to be Ruck ready! Keep an eye out on the Sheffield Vulcans social media in the coming months for video tutorials on different exercises help you get Ruck ready.

 

If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Sheffield Vulcans RUFC from any and all claims or causes of action.
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Caledonian Thebans Rugby Clinic – 2019

On Friday 25th of October, the Sheffield Vulcans gathered together at the train station to travel to Edinburgh for the annual Rugby clinic hosted by the Caledonian Thebans RUFC. Players from 19 IGR teams across Europe participated in this year’s clinic making it the biggest yet!

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