Training for the 2011 Rugby World Cup With USA Eagles Captain Todd Clever

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USA Eagles Rugby Interview Todd Clever

Todd Clever—or "Captain America" as he is known to his teammates and fans—is a 6'4", 225-pound tribute to elite athleticism. The 28-year-old captain of the USA Eagles is currently in New Zealand, playing in one of the world's most popular sporting events—The Rugby World Cup. While there, Clever hopes to guide the Eagles to a team record of two match wins en route to bringing home their first World Cup trophy. Although he's been training for this moment for the past four years, the intense workouts he's been putting in over the past month are what will shape his 2011 World Cup performance.

Clever credits his readiness for the tournament to his personal trainer Ryan Gallop, whom he trains with in San Diego during the off-season. "At his training facility, EZIA, we have been focusing on explosive power this last month," says Clever.

Given EZIA's emphasis on plyometrics (specifically Box Jumps, which build powerful glutes, hamstrings and quads), the Eagles will have an explosive flanker moving the ball up the field, winning scrums and stopping opposing attacks.

Preparing to meet rugby's best players in World Cup competition, Clever has also embraced different styles of training and dynamic pieces of equipment. He says, "I have also worked with Clinch Gear [on] MMA-style training to increase fitness and lung capacity."

In the video below, the beast perform Bodyweight Rows using a TRX Suspension Trainer. This dynamic exercise helps balance out his chest work, which includes Balance Board Push-Ups and Incline Dumbbell Chest Presses.

Another exercise that always gets Clever's heart pumping and builds his core and upper body strength, power and endurance is Battling Ropes. Performed by many elite athletes, it's a great way to challenge both your short-term intensity and long-term endurance.

After watching Clever's workout, we're convinced his body is ready to take on whatever international rugby teams throw at him. But he's taking nothing for granted. "We have an extremely tough pool," he says. "But we're certainly trying to raise the bar and make history at this Rugby World Cup."

Universal Sports is providing coverage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup [click here for more information]. For $149.99, you get the complete package—everything from the opening ceremonies (at 4 a.m. EDT on Sept. 9) to the final game on Oct. 23. Individual pool matches start at $24.99, and individual knockout stage matches go for $29.99. All Eagles games will be live on Universal Sports and tape-delayed on NBC.

Whatever your viewing pleasure, either stay up late on Sept. 11 (2 a.m. EDT) to catch Clever and the Eagles take on Ireland to start their World Cup journey—or watch the tape delay on NBC at 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 11.

Photo:  Gary Coldwells

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock