‘Season delay is an opportunity to change the focus of your training’

MTS Rugby Strong is a five week course which will help aspiring players to work on becoming more efficient and resilient on the pitch

Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

CONFIRMATION earlier this week that the 2020-21 Scottish domestic season won’t go ahead in a ‘competitive’ format was a disappointing – if perhaps inevitable – set-back for clubs and school teams across the country, but Heriot’s Super6 hooker Michael Liness is urging players not to let all the good work they have done to get ready for a January restart go to waste.

He has launched a five-week training programme out of the cross-fit gym near Canonmills in North Edinburgh where he is a strength and conditioning coach.

“Rugby has taken a bit of a backward step for everyone, and hopefully this is a way to make sure that all the good work players have done to get ready for a January restart is not wasted,” he explains. “A lot of us did three-months of pre-season to then be told that the October start of the season was delayed, so you think you’ll get another month or six weeks of training under your belt and be really flying when the games start in January, then it is back to March for Super6 – and probably August for the clubs guys – which is really tough.

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“So, I was looking at it and thinking ‘I feel really good – I’ve lost weight I didn’t need to have – but now I can’t play for another four or five months at least’, and I decided that I wanted to keep that going and maybe help others along the way.

“You hear people saying they are bored with going to the gym, and not sure if they are doing the right thing for this sort of situation because they have never gone so long without having games to work towards, so we’ve put together a five-week programme to help people through that. Basically, let’s get some good work done before the Christmas break, then get stuck into pre-season in the New Year.

“This is for everyone and anyone, whether you are chasing a professional contract, a Super6 opportunity, or just looking to get in the 1st XV of your local club. With Covid guidelines, we’re only allowed 10 people in a session at the moment, but that’s a bit of a blessing in disguise because it means there is more individual-focussed coaching, and we’ve found that we are more effective.

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“It is not a class,” he stresses. “People are coming in during a certain time-slot and you have an hour working with a coach at your own pace.”

“The course we are running will be with the same 10 people in the same time-slot for five Sundays on the bounce between 21st November [tomorrow] and 19th December. Everyone will do the same things, although the weights might be heavier or lighter depending on the individual, and if it goes well we might run another five weeks after Christmas. It could be something we develop when rugby does restart to take in things like recovery and so on.

“The aim is to give people a better understanding of their training, how to prevent themselves from getting injured, and how to be most efficient in their position on the pitch.

“My view is that body-building is a massive problem in rugby at the moment – everyone wants to be massive but often they don’t think about what they need to do to be effective – and that is something I’m pretty passionate about addressing.”

The MTS Rugby Strong Programme will provide a focused and supported pathway to develop rugby specific strength, conditioning, power, speed and endurance.

A five session programme will develop your ability to move and lift weights correctly, deepen your understanding of what exercises will better your performance on the pitch and ensure your body is protected against injury.


Every Sunday between 21st November and 19th December with hour long sessions start at 11am, noon (ladies only), 1pm and 2pm.


CrossFit MTS, Beaverhall Road, Beaverhall yard, Edinburgh, EH7 4JE

For who?

Rugby enthusiasts of all levels. These are individual sessions in a small group within a large open space. Each session will accommodate 10 people with the appropriate safety measures adhering to government restrictions and protocols.


A five session programme: £50

5 session programme + post programme support:  £75


Michael Liness – mtsrugbystrong@gmail.com

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About David Barnes 3816 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.