One of the lesser know benefits of ZUU training is it's ability to help in injury prevention. Nathan Williams who in my opinion is one of the best Physiotherapists going around, explains some of the aspects as to why ZUU is used by elite sporting codes & athletes for increases in mobility, overall strength & injury prevention.
I was given the opportunity of showcasing ZUU to the Brisbane Lions. Matt Hass one of the Head Conditioners there had heard about ZUU. As someone with an open mind and always looking for a new stimulus, he set up the session. They had 2 of their fittest club players experience ZUU.
Funny as an S&C coach myself you have preconceptions about the fitness of codes that you train with. With AFL I expected the boys to be very strong in their legs due to the amount of km's they cover per game depending on position. Lots of multidirectional movement and contesting requires power & strength, so I thought their top half should be pretty good as well. They generally are lot leaner then Rugby League & Rugby players so conditioning/cardio should be up there.
After training for many years with ZUU it never ceases to amaze me how it affects athletes from every field or code and this encounter was no exception. Within a few mins one of the boys turned to me and commented how his legs were already feeling the lactic set in. That surprised me considering the amount of running they do so ZUU is great for off feet for the boys taking the load off the joints but keeping the fatigue present as in a game. Then when we went up stairs to the upper body ZUU hit its mark even quicker. Some of the boys were finding our fundamental moves quit difficult and having to stop to shake out the lactic build up. Cardio wise the boys felt it especially when we broke their breathing rhythm through specific exercises. They had to constantly stop to try and catch their breath while under extreme fatigue. ZUU simply challenges you on all levels (anaerobic, aerobic & mentally) but in a controlled environment. Their experience is not unique in the sense that every team I have ever trained with goes through the exact same responses.
ZUU drills with the Lions were around 4-5 mins longs with 30 sec rests and total work time around 35 mins. As always even though extremely challenging, the players loved it due to ZUU being unique with our exercises and sequences. 2 said it was 'one of the hardest workouts they had ever done' which seems to be a common remark after a ZUU sesh.
The Lions boys knuckled down during the session and did their code proud as did their S&C coach Matt Hass who certainly knows his stuff but better then that, participated to understand ZUU for himself.
Michael Voss watched the session with very positive feedback & the Lions are now looking at where ZUU may be incorporated into their training.
As always I was flanked by my Head Trainer Rowan Baxter and helping us dish the pain was also ZUU trainers Shaun Butler our Englishman & Luke Bashara who's one crazy Gorilla!!
Nathan Helberg......shar'n the Journey that is ZUU...
I have worked with many Head Strength & Conditioning coaches from NRL, AFL & Rugby. I would rate Trent Elkin among the top for various reasons. To start with he has an open mind when looking for new ways to challenge his players especially involving dynamic functional training like ZUU. He breaks the mould in this area as a lot of coaches are very old school and are still doing things the way they were taught decades ago. His knowledge for implementing programs and all that that entails is second to none. He not only knows his science but 'walks the walk', an area where many S&C coaches I feel fall short. I have trained in the trenches next to him with both our H/R maxing out, doing so allows us to bond and relate to the players. That being said you have to be in shape to do so another area S&C coaches can fall short.
What does this achieve?
Respect from the players he coaches as they know he understands the psychological & physiological strain they are under when training. As an example I was watching the boys on the climber going through utter exhaustion with massive amounts of lactic build up for 1x5 min effort. Trent knew exactly where they needed to be in distance and time in order to reach their goal. How? He had completed 4x 5 min back to back efforts with interval rests! I can tell you there are coaches out there that are either to scared to put themselves through that for fear of losing respect or just plain aren't fit enough to even attempt it!
I have no doubt that Trent will be in the NRL for a long time to come and it will only be a matter of time before he is called for representative duties.
On top of all that.....he knows where to get a good brew of coffee! An absolute must when training on your limits....White Horse...Ham...your shout bra.
Nathan Helberg.....from humble beginnings
Recently I had the opportunity of showcasing ZUU to Rugby Super 15's Western Force. I took along with me my right hand man, mate and ZUU's Head Trainer Rowan Baxter. Charlie Higgins who is the Head Strength & Conditioner for the Force had invited me as he was looking for a functional style of training that was different but would compliment his overall program for his players. Unlike some Head S&C coaches Charlie is very open minded when it comes to new training styles especially when it comes to functional training. I personally promote ZUU in the contact sporting world of Rugby League, Rugby & AFL as the 'bridge that ties gym strength to field strength'. Below are Charlie’s thoughts on ZUU.
"Nathan Helberg’s Zuu Training is without doubt the most innovative, effective form of bodyweight training I have experienced in my 10 years as a strength and conditioning coach.
The Western Force players were put through a Zuu session that took them to their physiological and psychological limits and was an excellent assessment tool of functional strength, endurance and character.
We will continue to use Zuu training as I believe it will enhance our mobility, functional strength and endurance in a safe and controlled environment. The Zuu program allows us to target the whole body through total body movements and sequences.
I can’t recommend Zuu training enough to any sporting team; it is the perfect link from the gym to the field."
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
ZUU ticks all the boxes for S&C coaches who are looking for "off feet" conditioning.
- Players from the Force wore heart rate monitors during their sessions. ALL of the players registered over 80%. 6 went over 100%. Charlie commented that some of his players heart rates were the highest he had seen. Now to do this without running drills is extremely hard, but not for ZUU.
- The duress & fatigue players have to work through is as close to a game as you can get but without the impact.
- As the fatigue sets in and players lose their breathing rhythm it becomes a mental challenge for them which again makes ZUU very sports specific. It helps coaches see what players need work mentally.
- We achieved all this with NO equipment, gimmicks, smokes or mirrors.
- ZUU works full ranges of motion under load (bodyweight) strengthening connective tissue, facia, ligaments and tendons. The Physio from the Force participated in 1 of the sessions and agreed to it's usefulness in prehab/rehab.
Nathan Helberg....From Humble Beginnings