Anatomy of A Rugby Player: How Strong Is Olympic Medallist Tom Mitchel?

Anatomy of A Rugby Player: How Strong Is Olympic Medallist Tom Mitchel?

We’ve taken six of the
world’s top athletes to find out what it takes
to make a true Olympian… Now we’re working, come on! – ..testing, analysing…
– Dig deep, come on! ..going behind the stats
of an elite athlete as we push their
bodies to the max. (ANATOMY OF A RUGBY PLAYER) The physical demands
of rugby sevens are absolutely enormous. It’s an incredibly fast game,
played at incredible pace. They are the complete
package, they are strong, they are lean and
they are powerful across the entire body. Tom Mitchell is
Team GB’s captain and one of rugby sevens’
leading point-scorers. He led his country to
a stunning silver medal at the Olympic Games Rio
2016… Tom Mitchell! sevens’ first
appearance at the Games and his explosive
combination of agility, speed and strength make Tom one of his sport’s
true superstars. Growing up, being
a lover of sport as a kid, you watch the Olympics,
realising that’s the pinnacle of sport. We brought Tom to our
cutting edge sports lab to face one of his toughest
physical challenges so far. As a sevens player,
his anatomy has to excel in almost every
measurable area. The games are fast and brutal,
two seven to ten minute halves of quick-passing,
full-impact, hard-charging action. He may be near the
pinnacle of his sport, but if Tom has any
weakness, we’ll find it. So, just how close to
peak performance is he? The type of muscle groups,
really, for rugby sevens, is almost entirely global. They require speed,
for sprinting. In addition, they’re
doing a lot of tackling. Big biceps, triceps, shoulders,
pecs and to bring those together, you have to be
incredibly strong throughout the core. (ROOM IN USE) (DO NOT ENTER) Before we really put Tom’s
physiology to the test, we need to see
the anatomy that lies beneath the surface. The Dexa scan will give
us the data we need to see how much
of Team GB’s captain is
power-producing muscle. When we look at the body
composition of an average American footballer, they have
a fat percentage of 15.3, a Premier League footballer
is 12.5, but Tom is leaner than them both at 12.3%. The interesting thing
that we see in Tom is that he’s very lean. There’s a lot of muscle mass
with very little fat mass. Only 12.3% of his total body
mass is made up of fat and that’s very, very low,
particularly for someone who is carrying
85 kilos at 177cm. You have to live
a different life, you have to stay in when
you might want to go out. You can’t just have
a lazy takeaway, you need to make yourself
proper food all the time and for some people, that’s
not the life they want to live, but the rewards are great. We get to represent our
country on the biggest stage. (DYNO) The dynamometer test
is a measure of strength and it’s also a measure
of strength endurance. So what we should see here,
is Tom with very high strength. Why is that important? Because strength underpins
power, power underpins speed. Of course, what we have
to factor in here, is that Tom is carrying an injury,
so I think, here, we’ll actually see that
unmasked. The dyno will really put
Tom’s key muscle groups of hamstrings and
quadriceps to the test. These are the drivers
for everything he does on the rugby field – running,
kicking and tackling. So what I’m going to get
you to do, when I say, “Go,” is to bring your foot
back behind your knee and then extend out as
hard as you can to push against the resistance. Three, two, one, let’s go!
And push, push, push! Pull, pull, pull!
Push, push, push! Pull, pull, pull!
Push, push, push! Last one, pull, pull and relax. Tom’s training
involves continual work on his quads and hamstrings, the power behind his
every move during a game. The unrelenting pace
that sevens is played at, combined with the kind
of impact most of us would only feel in a car crash, means a powerful leg
musculature is essential in the modern player. But after the biggest
tournament of his life, is Tom still firing
on all cylinders? Push, push, push,
pull, pull, pull! Push, push, push,
pull, pull, pull! And relax. Well done,
good stuff! Excellent stuff. Tom’s results show some
impressive power-output figures. His right leg quads
generating 106 newton metres, but his left leg
producing a huge 134. These results tell
us that he is strong, and you can see that
just by looking at him – his incredible physique. He’s very strong in
the quadriceps and he’s very
strong in the hamstrings so that ratio is very,
very good. Playing rugby, that’s a huge
demand on your body. We joke often in training
that we’re going to be in a pretty bad way when we’re
old men, but the reality is it does take a toll
on your body. You spend the weekends lying
around cos you’re sore and you’re icing because
you have to, if you want to try and get out on the
training field the next week. You know, there are things that
do really affect your life. (SPEED) Rugby sevens
is an invasion game. It’s the ability of a player to
take the ball and break through a defence in order to score
a try. Speed is of the essence. And so what we’re
expecting to see here, is that Tom should
be carrying very high speed which is all part of this
package of performance. In the sprint test,
Tom will use many of the same muscles as the dyno, but
instead of torque, it’s raw speed that we’re measuring. Rugby sevens has some of
the fastest men on the planet outside of a 100m final, but
just how will Tom measure up? Make sure when you get to that
last gate, you do not slow down,
you run straight through it. Three, two, one, let’s go! Push, push,
push, all the way through! We’re testing Tom over short,
explosive distances clocking not only his five
and 20m splits, but also his
ground contact time. Because in sevens,
speed is everything. Look at this run coming from
Rosco Speckman! Well, here goes Iles! Look at that! Well, he’s not going
to be caught now, is he? Despite breaking his
left ankle a year ago, it’s not holding Tom back. Time for the analysis. The 5m sprint time,
your best time is 1.15, so not too bad at all. Yeah, quite happy with that. Tom’s speed is certainly
one of his major assets and although his 20m time
of 3.08 seconds is below the quick men
of the 15-a-side game, his ground contact results are
the headline grabber. Only three 100ths of a second
outside a world-class sprinter. When we analyse the
contact time, what that’s
telling us is power. It’s about Tom’s ability
to strike the ground and accelerate off the ground. Because, invariably,
in rugby sevens, it is about acceleration
from either zero velocity or otherwise, standstill, or
very low velocity to very, very high speed
as quickly as possible. My main strength on
the field is my ability to use my feet
and my agility to beat defenders, to create space. Tied in with that is my
acceleration, the ability to move quickly across the ground
and change direction quickly is something I use
in the game all the time. (UP CLOSE) I played a whole load of
sports when I was younger, I was mad into football, I played cricket at school,
as well, loved playing basketball, tennis. Fortunately, my
dad was into his rugby, took me up the local
rugby club when I was eight and I’m pretty glad he did,
cos I’ve loved the sport. Compared to some of the other
guys, I’m fortunate in our squad, we’ve got a huge
number of athletes. Some guys that are big and
push a lot of weight in the gym and have a lot of power, other
guys are incredibly quick, so I’m kind of in
the middle somewhere and try to have
a bit of everything. I guess perhaps that’s my
strength. If there was another sport
that I could play it would be basketball,
I’d love to play in the NBA. I watch some of those
guys like LeBron James. The athleticism and
the skill and the speed that they play with, I’d love to have
been able to emulate that but I’m a few inches too
short for that game, I think. (COGNITIVE) Performance is not
just about the body, it’s about the interaction
between the body and the brain. Effectively, the brain
is the central controller, it’s telling us what to do. So, for Tom, he’s having
to make decisions at incredibly high speeds in very,
very pressurised environments. Very difficult thing to do. Cognitive ability is
vital to maximising the body’s physical function. But it’s not just about
relaying instructions. In a game situation,
Tom has to absorb, process and interpret
huge amounts of data, fast. OK, Tom, we’re going
to do a series of tests and these are going to
look at your brain function. By testing Tom’s
pattern-recognition skills, we can evaluate both
his spatial awareness as well as his ability to make
the right decisions quickly. Rugby sevens has
been called human chess, a game of the brain
as much as the body. Reaction time
is critical for any player, but especially a team captain. Can Tom make the correct calls
quickly when it really counts? How did you find that? Yeah, it does mess
with your mind a bit. Your average reaction
time is quicker than Jenson Button’s one. I’ll take it,
I’ll take that! These results for Tom are
absolutely outstanding, particularly around
response time. And, in fact, what we see
is a better response time than we expect from
Formula One drivers, so it really tells you how
important this area is for Tom, but probably tells you
something about Tom. What really makes
him elite is the ability to make those
split-second decisions, which is what
makes him one of the best try-scorers in the world. (FORCE) The countermovement jump
test and the drop jump test are really markers of power. Because we’re
looking at height jumped, they’re also a measure
of power-to-weight ratio. In other words what
you are trying to be is as light as possible,
but as powerful as possible. The force test will
focus on Tom’s calves, quads, adductors and glutes measuring how
quickly he can move from muscle
extension to contraction to achieve maximal force
in the shortest possible time. Maximal effort,
keep your hands on hips, as high as you possibly can, and then land
and hold that position. Three, two, one,
maximum effort here. Good stuff, and jump. Good stuff, well done,
excellent. Whether it’s competing for
possession or breaking through the toughest of defences,
the modern sevens player, needs the ability to
unleash maximum power instantaneously to make those
big match-saving tackles as well as try-scoring runs. Two, one, good and go! Good stuff,
well done and relax. The contact times
are really, really good. Again, comparable to some
Olympic athletes we’ve had in. A drop jump contact
time of 0.21 seconds, combined with a flight time
of almost half a second, are in the same zone
as an Olympic high jumper and Tom’s not
even at full fitness. Because we know Tom
is carrying an injury, I think the interesting thing
for me is that we can compartmentalise
this into two areas – one is the sort of psychology
and the other is the physiology and the performance. From a psychology
perspective, it shows you what Tom is all about. He is the captain of Team GB, he is a leader,
he is tenacious, he is driven and I think that really
tells you everything you need to know –
that despite the injury, he undertook the test. The constant battle that
we face as rugby players is robustness, the ability
to train day in, day out and maintain a healthy body
throughout a tournament. In its Olympic debut,
rugby sevens proved to be one of the most exciting
and explosive sports in Rio. To excel at the highest level,
it needs the complete athlete and Tom’s speed, strength
and mental firepower set him apart even
among the elite, showing just what’s
behind the anatomy of an Olympic medal-winner. I mean, Tom is
an incredible specimen. You only need to take
a look at him to see that. He is an elite athlete,
he has strength, he has power, he has
speed, he has agility. Is he going to go the distance? Oh, my word! Tom Mitchell! The standout thing
is actually his ability to operate under pressure,
to make decisions and that will be the difference
between winning and losing. The thing is about being
a professional athlete, it’s not your nine to five, there’s not really a clocking
off time. So, you go home, you
think about what you’re eating, you’re thinking about how
much sleep you need that night. That can be a tough thing
to adjust to at the beginning, but once you’re into it
and you realise why you’re making those sacrifices, then it just
becomes part of your life.

100 Replies to “Anatomy of A Rugby Player: How Strong Is Olympic Medallist Tom Mitchel?”

  1. "American footballer". Is this referring to an American rugby player or an NFL player because there is a big difference lol.

  2. Yes they could have chosen someone "better" than TM, but i for one would rather know the test results of an "average" athlete as that info is relevant to the reason i'm here

  3. I don’t think you can expect the same performance in their gym thing than on the field there is adrenaline pumping and more pressure and stuff

  4. This is ridiculous
    85 kilos is 185 lbs that's the size of a small wide receiver which definitely has a body fat of least than 10% so the average nfl player that's 85 kilos has more lean muscle (less body fat) than this guy
    NFL players this size(85 kilos) are definitely more leaner on average than rugby players

  5. So Rugby is the 'world's biggest stage' (Mitchell, 2017)? That's hilarious. His ego is is what should be measure compared to the world's best. He outdoes them all.

  6. smh, football aint universal but rugby is. Football is safer than rugby! football is much better to watch and football players are as capable of what rugby players can do.

  7. so now imagine how Fiji's players are stronger . What proper food ? tell that to Fiji's player lmao

  8. Funny with all these modern gadgets & expensive testing equipment the Fijians are still running rings around the opposition and all they have is just good old weights & tyres to train. Strength & speed is gained from what a famous Fijian winger Rawaca said' "pig hunting! And for fluid replacement they just drink coconuts! No wonder it hurts so much when you lose to Fiji- the $$$$$$$$ really gets counted? Thank God the Fijians have not found these expensive equipment yet you mob will need Superman to stop them!

  9. I think the american footballer stats kinda not fit in there
    There like a literally super fat dude and there's another super lean (or skinny) dude

  10. I wish you had shown what types of test there were for the cognitive/reaction speed. Cause I believe many tests and websites like human benchmark, suggest that average human reaction speed is somewhere between 230-300ms…

    I'd imagine the tests are giving much longer results because of what type of tests they are, right?

  11. The BMI fat comparison is not a fair comparison as American football have lineman which weigh a lot more than WR or RB & if you eliminate them I imagine the BMI is comparable or better. A fair comparison would be Tom Mitchel to say someone like Adrian Peterson, LaDainian Tomlinson or even some FB nvm WR.

  12. An average body-fat percentage is always going to be skewed, because the NFL is filled with 300+ pound players.

  13. When they say football, are they talking about American or the soccer/football? I mean I’m pretty sure it’s soccer/football but still

  14. If they wanted to see the anatomy of an extreme athlete they should’ve gotten a Polynesian rugby player. They’re big but still fast. But no they’d rather get someone that looks like they belong in the bachelor.

  15. Should of had malakai fekitoa he was on the cover of sports illustrated . and he’d smoke tom in every area apart from passing the ball to his team mates ?

  16. Rugby players are built alot like hockey players, but I would say a little more muscular due to the scrum and pulling/tugging they have to do. But both sports are based on explosive speed and power.

  17. omg they have no cue what really is an important measurement. Ground contact alone time says nothing (it's dependent on limb length). Isolated thigh strength is not nearly as meaningful as a multi joint strength/power movement such as a squat jump or a countermovement jump.

  18. they picked him to do these tests because he can speak English and live around the corner. LOL!!!. Not because he is physically one of the best in 7s. lets be honest, he wont even  get into the top 20 best players in 7s.

  19. NFL is like Overwatch ( each person has his own jobs) you know what I mean. They could do only 1 job, except they decide to play in different role.

    In Rugby, everyone does the same jobs. Full contact nonstop. Rugby players don’t take break every 10 secs ?? and then reset.

  20. Rugby imo should be the world sport. It covers almost all areas physically, including mentally. It's well rounded overall. Even the diversity from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania & Americas. Thugs game played by Gentlemen.

  21. I liked to know we share a few physical traits. Like being an average height, but incredible lean and heavy, muscular. Even tho im a girl. Rugby is part of my life and i am hoping to play with my country team when i become an adult. And yes, you do have to be really smart to play. If youre not fast and smart, if you dont get things fast, rugby its no for you. I know people that have been playing for years but are not good, they just seem like they cant process what is happening. They dont have the skill to run and make a good pass at the same time. Every player knows someone like that. Its sad they always think they are the best

  22. every time I see one of these things, I think about how weak, slow, soft, blind, deaf and defatigable a human is compared to just about any animal.

  23. See in rugby, especially 15s, every position carries a different body type and muscle group needed. For example, a modern day prop needs to be a massive in pure muscle but stamina isn’t hugely important. While a flank needs to have a perfect balance of huge strength and huge stamina and huge speed. While a wing should be lean and fast but still strong

  24. Although he isn't the gold medal winning captain, he is a very well rounded player of the game…this just shows that sevens rugby has evolved greatly with all the skill required to play the full code showcased abundantly by talented and hardworking athletes…respect from Fiji.

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