Mention a tug-of-war and that which springs to mind is puny students struggling to pull each other in the college athletics carnival, or huge men with super-human strength, grunting and sweating as they attempt and pull the other team (without ripping their arms out) as seen in some kind of crazy extreme sports.
By organizing a set of CrossFit style tug-of-war practices for the general public, in addition to a CrossFit and tug-of-war challenges for many local groups, the Tug-Of-War Association expects to present a far more realistic and accessible facet of the game. At the same time, the institution also hopes to increase the profile of this game globally.
Remember… It’s all about upper body strength
It’s a complete fantasy that a massive upper-body and powerful biceps are necessary to be successful at the game: What really counts is a good leg-strength, technique, and a strong heart, in addition to endurance. A huge upper-body isn’t required since we mostly use our legs not our hands to maneuver the rope. We just use our hands to get the rope moving.
With great technique and teamwork, even students can compete at a very high level.
CrossFit, Mental Endurance & Teamwork
As you may know, we offer CrossFit classes separate to our tug of war competitions. Many people who join the club gain interest after doing a tug of war in CrossFit. If you are interested in taking part in our CrossFit and tug of war sessions, the only thing we ask is that you bring suitable footwear that can handle it. Many people go for the more affordable CrossFit shoes as they are less concerned with them getting dirty or damaged.
Of course, you need to be prepared for some physical exertion if you’re going to take part. Teamwork, fitness and psychological endurance are tightly intertwined in this game. A tug-of-war team needs all its pullers to have all three since the group is just as good as its weakest tugger. Someone who joins a competitive tug-of-war team will be trained in all 3 facets so they can contribute effectively.
Fitness & Health
We find that fitness is the cornerstone in which teamwork and psychological endurance can be built upon. To manage the enormous strain that aggressive pulling puts onto the body, particularly in the thighs and calf muscles, a tugger needs good leg-strength. Many tuggers do a lot of squats and leg exercises in the gym. There’s plenty of other benefits from squats too but this we recommend squats to be certain that tuggers don’t suffer during an aggressive pull, we’ve adopted a demanding but detailed training program. Suffering should occur only during our CrossFit sessions :). You can learn more about CrossFit here.
During our normal Crossfit training sessions, we proceed into the rope-work coaching circuit. Rope-work boosts the tuggers’ rope skills. We perform multiple sets of rope-holding exercises followed by some sets of rope-bursting exercises, often without a break in between.
Aside from fitness and rope skills, our coaching also hones the tuggers’ teamwork: Their capacity to organize and synchronize their movements is vital to the team’s movement and tugging ability. This is far better than being captured in a defending position. In order to efficiently support each other through a pull, tuggers need to understand their team-mates’ weaknesses and strengths.
Tug of warer’s will also need to have a good level of mental endurance. It is physically very hard to be tackling the rope through aggressive pulling. A tugger will have to draw on his psychological strength to maintain the rope in the appropriate position for a decent amount of time. This is since the weaker team generally gives up after a minute or so.
To assist tuggers the hassle of dealing with the rope, our group has embraced a unique buddy system where the tugger supports his team-mate in front of him through aggressive pulls.