Wigan Warriors begin pre-season with testing at the University of Central Lancashire
Warriors first team put through paces by staff and students at UCLan
- UCLan is the official university of Wigan Warriors
The Warriors have returned to pre-season with a test after making the short trip to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
The first team squad are returning to training at the moment and have been pushed to the limit during recent fitness tests that assess the individual performance of each player.
It’s the eighth year in a row that the Warriors have teamed up with UCLan, using the University’s specialist laboratories to test each player against a range of physiological checks. This includes the punishing VO2 Max assessment which pushes the athletes to exhaustion to test their aerobic capacity.
Warriors’ Director of Performance, Mark Bitcon, said: “We’re hitting pre-season as Super League Champions which gives us a different approach as the World Club Challenge game against the Cronulla Sharks is at the front of all the players’ minds.
“All of the players know that Vo2 Max testing is the gold standard of physical capability and they have really pushed themselves during their visit to UCLan. We’re very lucky that we now have eight years’ worth of accurate data from our visits to UCLan to work with which puts us in a really strong position and helps us develop individual pre-season training programmes for each player.”
The fitness tests are part of an on-going deal between the two parties with UCLan being the official university of the Wigan Club. The Warriors have worked with the staff and students at UCLan over the last few years during pre-season and throughout the course of the season.
The relationship also provides vital experience for UCLan’s sports science final year undergraduate and postgraduate students who perform all tests under supervision from their tutors as well as taking internship opportunities at the Club.
UCLan nutrition and exercise sciences graduate John Wilkinson spent a year’s internship with the Warriors during his studies before joining the Club to assist in strength and conditioning.
He said: “Working with professional athletes at one of the best Super League clubs in England was a great opportunity. It was something I made the most of and I subsequently got this job on the back of it. I’m here to learn as much as I can.”
Ian Bentley, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science and Warriors’ Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach, added: “We’ve brought in 12 UCLan students to run the fitness tests for Wigan, not only under supervision from us, but also from Head Coach Shaun Wane and Director of Performance Mark Bitcon. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to work with elite athletes in a professional environment.”