PHOTO: International rugby player Ned Hanigan has been using his imagination to engineer some weights from things he’s found around the family farm near Hollywood.
KEEPING fit during lockdown is a challenge for all sportspeople regardless of what they play or where they live, and even international rugby players have to think outside the square to get ahead of covid.
Just ask Australian rugby player Ned Hanigan who is locked down at home on the family farm near Hollywood, Coonamble.
Ned spent a northern hemisphere rugby season in Japan, from Christmas to the end of April, returning to Australia and spending two weeks in motel quarantine before getting out on 2 May.
“I was thinking about pulling the boots on here but I wanted to come home for a sabbatical and spend time with my family,” he said.
“I haven’t been able to do that since I left school, and I looked at the horizon and thought it might not happen for a good while, so I came home.”
Ned managed to sneak in a trip around the cattle stations, rodeos and campdrafts of northern Queensland before covid restrictions really came into force.
While farm work can be physically demanding, he knows he’s going to have to stay fit in readiness for his planned return to Japan in December this year.
“I’m keeping half fit now and helping dad, but I could be getting a bit soft round the edges,” he said.
As well as working through a continuous list of farm jobs – marking calves, fencing and more – he is following a training “regime” that sees him working out five to six days a week for about an hour and a half a day just to “keep the legs kicking over.”
“I’m not really giving it some. I like playing and I like feeling fit. I don’t like getting fit,” says Ned.
He says his focus right now is to not lose muscle mass.
“You don’t want to go back to Japan looking like a string bean or an oompa loompa,” he said.
“People have written programs for me so I find it easier but we’re a bit short on equipment, especially weights.”
“We’ve got a bar and a bit of a gym set-up but we’ve had to manufacture some stuff.”
He and brother Charlie, a medical student also studying from home, have used their initiative to boost the fitness focus of their father’s shed.
“We’ve got some paint cans we weighed and a disc plough that we lift, and we’re dragging tyres and heavier chains,” said Ned.
“We’ve got a kettle bell there and we’ve come up with a few funny moves for it.
“I do a fair bit of stretching and stuff, about twenty minutes of stretching most days,” he said.
Even cattle work is an opportunity for fitness.
“I’ve been getting the squats up daily on horseback, rising to the trot.”
“I hadn’t ridden for a year or so and I rode about five k’s and could hardly stand up – I was a bit tender.”
“I’ve also pulled a few calves, so that’s a bit of a rush of blood,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get all that fencing done before it heats up. There’s a bit of stretching in pulling those wires.”
Ned is looking forward to returning to play at the Kurita club back in Japan.
“I loved it, the culture, the food, the people and just how different it is,” he said. “I was in Tokyo, right in the mix, 26 million and me. It was extraordinary seeing that many people in such a confined space.”
“I got to have a good look about, and just loved the scenery and the snow. There wasn’t too much acknowledgement of covid, they were just wearing their masks and getting on with things,” said Ned.
“The footy’s good but not as serious or demanding as it is here. I had to learn a little bit of Japanese. I loved it.”