Ellis Jenkins joined the ION Strength and Conditioning Podcast earlier this week, as Cardiff Blues’ head of Strength and Conditioning, Robin Sowden-Taylor, looked to tap into the mindset of a professional athlete.
From patiently awaiting for his Cardiff Blues opportunity to dealing with a knee injury that has kept him out for more than a year, Jenkins discussed a range of topics and gave an insight into his life as a professional rugby player.
Jenkins also spoke about his schedule during the lockdown period and how a training routine is keeping him mentally fresh and self-motivated.
Jenkins said: “It’s strange for everyone, isn’t it? We’re used to being very structured in our day and are used to be told where to be, at what time and what we’re doing.
“I’m trying to keep that as much as I can in my day-to-day routine and training and my rehab is still my priority at the moment.
“So day one of the week I’d concentrate on my rehab, on the second day I’d do a Wattbike session and on the third day I’d focus on my upper body, and I will then repeat that routine as often as I can.
“I’ve always been big on training, even before I became a professional in rugby. It’s something I enjoy and it’s keeping me sane at the moment.
“I try to go for a walk once a day, but there’s quite a people around where I live who are self isolating. So it’s good for us to go out, do their shopping for them and it means they can stay in the house.
“I’m lucky that I have a small garden with a decent set-up and it’s a bit of a sun-trap as well. We’ve been spending as much time in the back garden as we can.
“I’m trying to keep things as normal as possible and not dwell on the fact that we’re inside. We’ve been cooking a lot, trying out some new recipes with some healthy and some not.”
Jenkins came through the academy ranks with Wales’ Capital Region, and as a youngster found himself vying for the number seven jersey alongside Sam Warburton and Josh Navidi.
However, after initially finding a lack of opportunities frustrating, Jenkins insists once he broke into the first team there was no room for complacency.
“It was tough at times. You had Sam and just behind him you had Josh Navidi, who were two boys a couple of years older than me and had solidified their place in the team,” added the Welsh international.
“They were both playing great rugby, but I felt that I played some good stuff as well.
“It’s easy to look back now and say that I knew I was biding my time and trusting the process but the reality is that it’s not always as easy as that.
“I’ve always backed myself. I knew that if I got the chance then I’d prove myself but it’s about trying to get that chance.
“Wales under-20 were a good release for me. I was with the Blues as well as Cardiff and Ponty, but to be able to go into the Wales under-20 set-up was good for me.
“I got to play with a good bunch of boys in a different environment.
“I felt I was playing well in the Premiership, and it was frustrating. I remember speaking with Phil Davies at the time, saying that I wanted a chance and felt that I’d deserve a chance.
“In the end, Sam might’ve been away with Wales and me and Josh ended up playing. I think I played in every game until the end of the season after that.
“It’s one of those where you’re playing, and you know you’re playing well but there’s also stuff you want to improve on.
“You still have to build your reputation a little bit. It’s easy to come in and have one or two good games. It’s no good to have one good performance, drop off for a couple of games and then have another good game.
“Trying to maintain a performance is tough at that level. Especially if you pick up a couple of bumps and you might not be able to train as hard.
“It’s obviously been a couple of years where I’ve been a regular fixture in the team, but I’ve also had my fair share of injuries.”
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