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Becoming more powerful: Sports conditioning with Conor

This month we want to share more details about our sports conditioning sessions. Sports conditioning is one-to-one coaching designed to help you prepare for specific events or sports. The team at Elevate works with you to create a bespoke training programme specifically designed to achieve a higher level of function and optimise athletic performance. The sessions will be tailored depending on your goals; whether you’re training for your first marathon or are a seasoned athlete, we are here to support your training goals. 

This week we sat down with Conor Gracey who plays rugby at Oundle. Our trainer Foxy is currently coaching him.

Morning Conor please can you introduce yourself

Hi, my name’s Conor Gracey, I’m 26 years old. In terms of my interests, I work for Barclays Bank so a lot of my life is associated around work, similar to a lot of people.  I, therefore, enjoy going to Elevate and doing a structured workout where someone’s almost directing me and telling me what to do. Not that I don’t know what to do myself but, I just find that having that bit of guidance and accountability when you have a fairly busy lifestyle is always really helpful. 

My second hobby is rugby. I grew up playing throughout school, I went to ACE college in Moulton, which is a rugby school, so from a young age I was rugby orientated. I then went to university in Loughborough where I did a half scholarship and got my degree in business, economics and played rugby. I would train in the gym in the morning and throughout the day, playing at a semi-professional standard there. When I left university I signed with a the Old Albanians, a semi-professional rugby team, for 2 years before recently moving to Oundle to play under the coaching team there.

How long have you been training with Foxy?

I’ve been training with Foxy for about 6 months now. Off the back of the lockdown I was doing some workouts at home but I was very conscious that I wanted to look better, get stronger and become more powerful. I could have done this myself but, Chris who I train with, gave me an opportunity to join in with a group session at Elevate. Having known Chris, Foxy and the team previously I thought it was a worthwhile opportunity to explore. Initially, I was only looking to do it for a couple of months, but it’s ended up extending for a lot longer because I really enjoy it. 

What are your goals for sports conditioning? 

My main training goal with Foxy is to increase my power output and to increase my explosiveness, which are both major parts of rugby. Underpinning that I also want to improve my anaerobic and aerobic fitness and my overall strength. I think I could train on my own but you might not get the technique right or have that level of accountability, which is why I felt I needed to take my training to the next level I suppose. Training at Loughborough I was very much aware of that environment and enjoyed it so I’m trying to replicate that a little bit in day-to-day life now. 

How is Foxy helping you to support those goals?

We train twice a week on a Tuesday and Thursday morning. Our session normally last around and hour/ hour fifteen every week. We have a plan set in place which we work towards, usually in 6 or 8-week blocks.  We do similar exercises but within that period we try grow from both a technical and weight perspective so we are moving more weight, moving quicker and being more explosive. After that block, we’ll have a de-load week and then transition to another 8-week session. I really like this structure as we roughly know what we’re going to be doing which helps us on several levels.

What do you get up to in the sessions?

Typically, we start with 5-10 mins of stretching including some movement, for example, we might do some squats, aerobic bands to loosen up muscles and make our tendons warm. Then we go into a cardio session on the rower or ski erg to get our heart rates up and body awake, this can be explosive! Then towards the middle and end of the session, we get into our compound lifts which can include deadlifting, push press or it might be throws or box jumps e.t.c. We then tail off the end of the session by priming our bodies, sometimes we’ll use the cable machine to work on improving our shoulder stability.  

What are your focuses going forward?

Going forward, we’re about to go into a de-load week where we’ll do some lighter stuff and then from there the next block is going to be around moving the lighter weight at a quicker sped. So, dropping down the weight but looking at focusing on our explosive power rather than using heavyweight quite slowly. With that will come more reps because of the lighter weights. 

Have you noticed any improvements?

Yes, for sure. I think to start with my aesthetics, the way I look. I’ve put on muscle mass and I’m more defined. The second element is the technique and weight which is significantly different to what I’m moving now. The third element is the mental side of things. There’s been a clear improvement with me working out in the mornings, setting the tone for day and week. If you look better and feel better, then that’s a bonus that always goes underestimated. 

What is it like training here at Elevate?

The environment there is really good. The facilities speak for themselves and are probably the best in Peterborough, in terms of the look and feel and equipment. I think it’s a real family community. I’m a member at David Lloyd, so I have two memberships, but they have a lot of members and it’s a different type of training. If you’re looking to improve the way you look and you’re serious about training then I think that Elevate is somewhere that needs to be considered because of the higher level of expertise they offer. You just don’t find someone like Dan or Foxy in your average high street gym. I think the amount of people who have gone there in such a short space of time speaks volumes. 

I think the thing with Elevate is once you start going you realise how good it is. If someone looked at it they might think it’s a small gym. Some of the classes look a bit tough and maybe people are apprehensive as they’ve might not have done those types of movements before or used the equipment. But, the guys are really helpful to get you through. Once you’ve gone, you’ll get hooked because it’s really good. I think if you do give it a go I’d be surprised if you didn’t go back, which I can’t say about classes at other gyms.

If you’re interested in sports conditioning for yourselves or a team please feel free to get in touch, email info@elevatefitnessuk.com

We also offer a fantastic range of classes which are suitable for all abilities, tap below to book:

https://www.elevatefitnessuk.com/group-classes/

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