Last month, ahead of pre-season with his club – Saracens – and in preparation for the France 2023 Rugby World Cup, Under Armour athlete and England International Maro Itoje travelled to Portland, Oregon, for a 10-day pre-season camp at the Under Armour Human Performance Centre.
A world-class facility built for performance excellence, the Human Performance Institute hosts UA’s best athletes, who come to be assessed and learn about how they can become better.
In the months leading up to the camp, Under Armour’s Human Performance Team worked with both Saracens and the England Rugby Football Union to build a program for Maro that best prepares his body and his mind for rugby pre-season.
The training program focused on three elements: supporting Maro’s basic aerobic conditioning, improving his breathing and movement efficiency, and facilitating injury prevention.
The first few days of the camp involved a lot of recovery & meditation work, a series of assessments (breathing efficiency, movement efficiency, reaction tests, visual acuity and strength & power measurements) as well as a tough hike up Mount Hood.
This was all designed to build a strong foundation for the rest of the camp: high-volume aerobic and strength & power work, both in the gym and on the field.
For the second half of the camp, closest to the start of rugby pre-season, the UA Human Performance Team had asked for the support of former NHL Strength & Conditioning coach Mark Fitzgerald, bringing with him a lot of experience in training for contact sports.
For Maro, the camp’s main objective was to report for day one of rugby pre-season with his club already in good shape. To make sure of that, he brought fellow Saracens teammate Andrew Christie with him as a training partner.
“I am right up there with the best shape I have been from day one of pre-season.”– Maro Itoje
Already in his 10th season as a professional rugby player, Maro also insisted on being put outside of his comfort zone and getting exposed to new things while in Portland with Under Armour.
“This is my 10th season as a professional rugby player and here I have been exposed to new things, to things I haven’t done – different recovery methods, different ways of training, different ways of thinking about things. This camp has been a real breath of fresh air.”– Maro Itoje
“Maro came with questions and things that he wanted to do to put his own game together. I am excited to see how he takes the high-performance living habits that we’ve been teaching him for 10 days and applies it to his day-to-day work.”– Paul Winsper, VP of Human Performance, Under Armour
Check out the short video clip below to get a behind-the-scenes look at Maro’s pre-season camp at the UA Human Performance Centre in Portland.