At the heart of the stunning upset pulled off by the Japan Rugby Football Union in the Rugby World Cup was a highly specialized strength and conditioning program implemented by John Pryor. As the club’s strength and conditioning coordinator, Pryor developed a training program designed with a great deal of specificity in place for the purpose of ensuring a highly efficient and outcome-focused approach to all aspects of athletic fitness.
Japan’s success in the World Cup was due in large part to this focus on specificity, and Pryor has since fielded many questions regarding the methods he employed. In response, however, Pryor has often been quick to point out that the specific fitness program used in training the Japan Rugby Football Union may not necessarily yield similarly outstanding results for athletes in other sports. The training program used by Pryor was developed based on the specific needs of the athletes in the program, and the regimen was designed with the team’s competitive strategy in mind while also factoring in each athlete’s existing strengths and weaknesses.
According to Pryor, fitness programs should not always be considered universally effective. Any training program should be developed according to the specific needs of the athlete and in accordance with the type of athletic competition for which they are preparing. This requires a great deal of evaluation before developing a fitness program so that the appropriate level of specificity can be incorporated into the strategy.