In this final instalment of our four-part Wattbike x Leicester Tigers mini-series, we talk rehabilitation and off-season training with Aled Walters, Head of Physical Performance at Leicester Tigers to learn about the rehabilitation role of the Wattbike and how it’s used as a vital tool of off-feet conditioning to keep the team on track.
Firstly, I am confident that some players can’t do what they would have done five years ago, due to age or injury and some would not be best suited to a full running programme. As I’ve already mentioned in this series, the Wattbike compliments these situations by taking our players off-feet for training, but keeping them in a highly demanding physical and mental challenge.
We give some players Wattbikes to take home if they need them for rehab purposes, but if I think about it, most of the players have got their own Wattbikes now as they value them so much.
“The Wattbike can be so gruelling, some players may want to try their luck on their feet instead!”
When we’re in preseason, and we have guys who are going through a rehabilitation programme, the bikes come into their element. We get those guys on the Wattbikes pitch side, while the other players are going through the run programme, and all players can see that everyone’s working just as hard, no one is slacking.
Actually, I think the rehab players sometimes have it tougher, the Wattbike can be so gruelling, some players may want to try their luck on their feet instead! I’ve actually had a few say that the Wattbike is harder than anything they do on their feet anyway!
If I have a player with a lower limb injury, we’d start them off doing longer sub maximal style training, perhaps a 30-minute time trial, at level 5 or 6 with the aim of exceeding a distance of 20km. This would be a ‘nice’ entry stage session for someone who isn’t able to produce anywhere near their peak power at that time. Mentally taxing, physically demanding, that’s Wattbike in a nutshell.
As players get closer to getting back up on their feet for training, we can get them closer towards their previous peak power outputs on the Wattbike. Shortening the long interval training until we get them to repeat speed work, hitting the numbers we expect from them at full fitness.
At the end of the day, I love the fact that the players respect the bikes so much. There’s so much the bikes can be used for that I’ve actually started keeping a pretty thorough programme of sessions and it’s something the players will actually come and ask me for so they can continue on the bikes in their own time. The variety of work that can be done on the Wattbike is spectacular, and if you don’t have one yet, what on earth are you waiting for!