Thursday 18 January 2018

Mike Ross: I was off my feet but it wasn't an easy week

Player diary with Leinster's Mike Ross: I was happy enough with the bike sessions but I know I'm no Bradley Wiggins

Leinster's Mike Ross in action against Munster
Leinster's Mike Ross in action against Munster

Mike Ross

My weekly schedule this week was slightly different to what it usually is. Instead of preparing for Treviso, I was having a week of rehab. I had a niggling foot injury over the past few weeks that needed time to settle before we got into the business end of the season.

With a two-week gap between matches after the Treviso match, now was an ideal time.

I was off my feet, but that didn't mean an easy week. Lately, three black shiny new bikes were delivered into Leinster, stationary affairs with the legend "Wattbike" emblazoned along their sides. These machines may look pretty, but they are decidedly not your friend.

I got my first taste of them on Monday afternoon. The difference between them and a regular bike is that the pressure is constant, with no let off when you lift your foot.

Your legs soon become pools of lactic acid and the 20-minute session we did seemed to last an eternity.


The Wattbikes were developed for professional cyclists and come with all manner of bells and whistles, even analysing your pedalling to see how efficient you are, as well as the usual power output and revs per minute.

I managed an average of 330W for one 10-minute blast and was pretty pleased with that. I then later read that Bradley Wiggins averaged over 400W for a 50-minute time trial at the London Olympics! Seriously impressive stuff.

On Tuesday I had upper-body weights in the morning. Fortunately I escaped the Wattbike session that afternoon, as I was scheduled for a check-up on the injury at Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry.

It's a great facility to have on our doorsteps and it's used by all the provinces.

The Irish team doctor, Eanna Falvey, has an office there too. Today I was seeing Dr Frank McGrath, who just happens to be the father of Leinster scrum-half Luke McGrath.

So after a down day on Wednesday it was back into training on Thursday and there was a double session of lower-limb weights followed by what else?

More fun on the bike. The weights sessions have been tapered down a bit now as the season enters its last six weeks so there's less sets of exercises but the weight you move is expected to stay the same as it was earlier in the season.

The two big ones we're doing at the moment are box squats and Romanian dead lifts with a real concentration on perfect form during the movements. This is followed by a 20 minute focused strengthening session. The targeted muscle groups vary but right now we're concentrating on hamstrings and glutes.

It can be quite taxing even though it's all bodyweight exercises but our injury rate at the moment is very good, so it's been worth it.

The conditioning session afterwards was very inventive and the three of us that were doing it got off the bikes at the end with legs that refused to function normally.

It took a good 10 minutes sitting in the ice bath before we felt able to move again.

Friday was game day and after another bike session in the morning. I took my three year old son, Kevin, down with me to the game.


Conditions were perfect, and the RDS was jammed. Nothing to do with the licensing laws and Good Friday I'm sure!

It was actually my first time taking my son to a game, as usually I'm involved and it was nice to sit down together in the bright April sun and watch Leinster grab a decent win and the full five points.

Afterwards we made our way to the dressing-room to congratulate the lads.

We're currently sitting on the top of the Pro12 and have two crucial games coming up to make sure we stay there. Our next game is a tough away fixture to Ulster, who have been quite unlucky with injuries as of late.

Still, they've a quality squad and I'm sure it's going to be a really physical game like most inter-provincials.

Ulster will need to win to make sure they have a shot at a home semi-final, and we'll be looking to do the same.

This is where all the hard work we've put in until now has to pay off and we'll be preparing as best we can to make sure it does.

Irish Independent Supplement

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