What does training in isolation look like for a professional rugby league player?
An interview with Matt Ikuvalu.
Matt Ikuvalu is one of the Central Coast’s most loved professional rugby league players, signing to the Sydney Roosters in 2018 following impressive performances for the Wyong Roo’s in the NSW Cup. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Matt is facing a similar issue like all Australian’s – life in isolation. But how does a professional athlete stay game-ready, especially given there are talks of the recommencement of the NRL on May 28.
What do you miss most about competing?
I miss the contest mostly. Although board games at home can get competitive, I miss the physical contact.
Tell us in a nutshell what a training day in isolation may look like.
I’ve been getting in a routine of waking up at 7am for mobility and stretching. Breakfast. Field session around 10. Depending on the day the session might be speed and attacking movements, condition and defensive movements, or repeat speed with attack and defence movements. Gym will usually be in the arvo depending what time I do my field session.
What does your stash of home exercise equipment consist of?
I was able to get a barbell with 120kg worth of weight plates. A couple of dumbbells and some resistance bands. I use my table as my bench and two stools as a rack.
Do you find it hard to train on your own, or do you have an iso-training buddy?
At the moment, I’m struggling to find motivation to train because I’m training by myself, but I know I just got to do it.
How are you staying in touch with physio’s and strength/performance staff?
We get calls from our performance staff a few times a week to check on how we are travelling. We can also call them if we need anything. This includes group zoom meetings for yoga or pilates.
Given that you aren’t commuting to Sydney or traveling to play, what are you doing in your spare time?
My spare time usually consists of quality time with Alyce and my dog, but I also game a little bit (PS4) which I enjoy and try to get uni finished. I only have one more course to go.
One of the best qualities of rugby league is mateship. How is comradery staying alive amongst the playing group?
Everyone keeps in touch through a couple of social media apps. We also have weekly zoom meetings with a group to catch up. I also play a bit of PS4 with a few players which keeps the banter going also.
Thanks again Iku for being a part of the Physio Connex blog series. We miss having you around, and cannot wait to see you back in action for the Roosters in the not too distant future!
Featured images as per Matt’s personal instagram.