Monthly Archives: July 2014

Q&A with Chris Tombs

Specialising in strength and conditioning and sports specific training, Chris has been involved with professional sports physical preparation for the past decade.
Having attained an MSC in sport and Exercise Science Chris began working in the fitness industry at one of Britain leading gyms-The third Space.
Initial sports performance preparation began with the E.I.S as a Specialist Trainer contracted to look after elite athletes in the London region. Subsequently the last 8 years have seen Chris win trophies in 2 professional sports. Professional cricket with the Leicestershire foxes in the inaugral Twenty20 cup (as a consultant, while working for Leicester Tigers) and both the the Amlin and EDF Cup with Cardiff Blues professional rugby team. Chris is now Head of Performance at Serevi Rugby in the USA

1) Give us the high speed, nuts and bolts version of your experience in the S&C industry?
19 years as an S&C coach last 11 years working in professional rugby with Leicester tigers and Cardiff Blues

2) Funniest/strangest thing you have seen in a gym?
James Down in the early years of his career, bambi on ice 6 feet 7 limited body awareness and co-ordination
In commercial gyms I have seen so many funny and strange things…

3) From your years of experience what do you think are the common characteristics of a successful athlete/client?
Elite behaviours. The desire to do what is necessary, not the minimum. Diligence to training/recovery/supplementation/general lifestyle

4) What is the biggest mistake you are seeing in the industry at the moment?
Program hopping, athletes and clients wanting quick fixes and not following a process of hard consistent effort that will bring results. To many want to cheat with poor nutrition and supplements instead of whole foods to fuel training

5) What are your go to on-line resources?
I have a massive ‘Go To’ but key resources are the NSCA website, Eric cressey website, bret Contreras, poloquin, allthingsgym, Mark Rippetoe, T-Nation, EliteFTS, lots of various blogs such as complimentary training, stuart mcmillian, suki hobson, Darren burgess….plus my professional network of S&C professionals in a variety of sports in a variety of countries!!

6) What exercises will you most commonly find in your programming?

BASICS ARE BEST… Use the full spectrum of FVC ( Force velocity curve ) to program on a weekly basis. Sprint, throw MB’s, Jump variations, O lift variations, Squat and Trap bar DL (Don’t use conventional DL very often) vertical push pull, horizontal push pull, trunk stability in a nut shell!

7) What advice would you give to someone getting into the industry today?
Mentorships (try and connect with a coach who will help you learn)….network and meet as many coaches as possible, build relationships and never ever turn down a learning opportunity, or an opportunity to expose yourself to new environments.

8) What Supplements do you find yourself most frequently recommending and why?
Health related supplementation Fish oil, D3, and magnesium and my general philosophy is whole foods first, supplement second! BCAA’s and a good quality recovery drink with a blend of CHO and Protein. Main reasons are that health will lead to improved performance. No good looking at the 1%ers when the foundation nutrition is not in place

9) What has been your light bulb moment this year?
To be honest I think I have a pretty robust physical prep philosophy, but I have recently really become interested in the S&C and applied sports science balance as a practitioner

10) Who is the best/ hardest trainer you have worked with?
Leigh Halfpenny and Sam Warburton are right up there with the best. Austin Healey, Lewis Moody and Martin Johnson too…..see the pattern emerging here? Best trainers with the best attitudes turn out to be pretty good players!!!

11) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Ashley Jones of Canterbury, NZ and Aus S&C coach, Craig White had a good deal of influence when he worked for the WRU and I was at Cardiff Blues. Pete Atkinson when I was at Leicester Tigers, (He now heads up S&C for English Cricket) Mark Bennett of the osprey’s (When he was National Academy coach at WRU) . Listening to Dan Baker and Mel Siff was inspirational. Lots of others are continuing to influence through social media.

12) Most impressive feat of strength you have witnessed (in person)?
Joe Ajuwa, now a player at London Welsh, Trap bar DL 270kg like it was 60! The speed at which he moved it was incredible. Very very explosive individual. Still the fastest 10m time I have ever seen live.

13) How would you sum up your training philosophy in a sentence?
Strength foundation through the use of the full spectrum of the FVC

14) What type of training do you do yourself and why?
I train for 2 reasons to stay healthy and for vanity! …..the focus is STRENGTH FOUNDATION!!

15) What does 2014 have in store or you?
Relocated my family to the United States, started a new high performance job…grow rugby in the usa and explore the country with my family.

16) In a perfect working day answer all the following:
a) Place to Train – Green point cape town
b) Team/Athlete to train – Adrian Peterson of the minnesota vikings
c) Ideal Training Partner –see above, plus those who I mentioned as best trainers I’ve worked with
d) Person to have an hour to learn from –Mel Siff, sadly departed. He was the best I ever listened too.
e) Place to eat and Recover –Eva’s on 8th and 8th NYC, great old school bodybuilding food, chicken, broccoli, rice and lentils!!

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We realise you are incredibly busy so we thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to complete this, we really appreciate it.
Many Thanks
Chris & Andrew

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