Canadian Rugby Star Adam Kleeberger, on What it Takes to Compete on the World Stage

When you read the word rugby, what are the first three words that come to your mind? I think: intensity, grit and impressive. In chatting with Adam Kleeberger it became obvious to me that he embodied all of these things as an athlete. Kleeberger played for the Canadian National 7’s and 15’s, men’s, rugby team from 2005 until 2011 while also playing for the University of Victoria; Bayside Wanderer’s; Rotherham Titans; Auckland Rugby Union; and the London Scottish. How does an individual, of this calibre, train in order to become this kind of player and further, be ready to play their position amongst the best in the world? What does the training look like? and what role does innovation and technology play in the sport?

Adam started by breaking down his training week for us, noting that depending on which time of the year it was the volume and intensity of the sessions would fluctuate but the rubric was repeatable, weekly. So, what does it look like?

Weekly Training:

7:30 to 3:00 pm

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday to include:

4 weights sessions

2-3 speed sessions

2-4 conditioning sessions

Rugby every day

* early in the year the training sessions are largely volume and running based and as the season progresses the sessions become more tactical and technically focussed.

Game Day

Saturday and/or Sunday

2 - 40 minute halves

As Adam described his training weeks I became increasingly more interested in what his favorite types of training were and what metrics were used to track performance.  

Skill sets and player strengths vary in Rugby depending on the type of position an individual is playing. As a flanker, or back row player, he brought a combination of speed and strength to the game. Adam had it all, he was quick, and as a flanker would work to be the first to the tackle point and then would be the one to tackle anyone else who was there at the same time, cue the images of grit and tenacity.

So, what was Adam’s favorite workout, with a chuckle he said, “Heavy Cleans” - how many individuals would stand up and say that? And how heavy is heavy? Get ready to be impressed, Kleeberger noted that his max weight clean was 140 kilograms (kg). It is safe to say that weights in general were a strong point for him as his maximum strength efforts were all very notable: bench press max of 180 kg; front squat of 170 kg; back squat of 210 kg; and when doing neutral grip chin-ups he would add 60 kg, or an additional person.

With every individual and every team doing what they can to gain an edge it seemed natural to ask about the innovation and changes that he has seen in the game. Adam shared that there is a struggle between making the game engaging for fans, and teams trying to find new ways to win games. This struggle is most notably found in the constant change in the rule book; owners, coaches, and organizations push to ensure that they have the best chance to win while also trying to broaden their fan base and create a love for the game in more and more individuals. It would seem that there is an ever changing and ever going evolution within the sport.

Test your speed, power, agility and endurance against the likes of Adam by registering for FANFIT 2017 here.