Sydney University Football Club will be the first club in the world to use a new strength development apparatus known as the Scrum Truk.
Designed and developed by Bruce Ross, former SUFC coach and the President of Sydney University Sport, and his brother Doug, the Scrum Truk complements existing scrum machines.
"In developing high-performance athletes, exercise scientists recommend exercises that closely approximate the joint and muscle movement used in particular sport," Bruce said. "Until now, rugby union, one of the most strength-orientated team sports, has had to rely on general purpose strength exercises and equipment."
In designing a machine specifically for the rugby player, MyoQuip, the developers of the patented Scrum Truk apparatus, have converted the vertical resistance of gravity into resistance in the horizontal plane, which is where the rugby forward operates.
Forward dominance is the platform in which rugby success is built. In establishing dominance the crucial factor is the ability of the forwards to deliver pushing power and to withstand the counter-force generated by the opposing pack. Now we have a machine designed specifically to develop that pushing power and resistance to counter-pushing while in the body position of the scrum or maul.
SUFC tighthead, David Fitter, an emerging Wallaby prop, was involved in the development stages of the Scrum Truk by providing advice on the requirements of the front rower and the best training methods required.
"It's a great machine for developing pushing power in a controlled way," he said. "It's also unique; there is no other machine available where you can train by yourself to develop individual pushing power. Other machines require the whole pack to participate, but they are more for technique than developing pushing power. This is specific to the requirement of the game and much more effective than doing squats."
The Scrum Truk realistically simulates the compressive forces of the live scrum and generates effective counter-resistance. It is ideal for observing and teaching correct body position and delivery of pushing force and facilitates individual testing lower body strength in a familiar and comfortable body position.
Bruce said the Scrum Truk does not replace the scrum machine; rather the two machines complement one another. "Scrum machines do not develop pushing strength,” Bruce said. “Their function is for practising technique and cohesion as a pack, but the contribution of the individual forwards is difficult to assess."