Interview With All Black & Crusaders Player Owen Franks
Over the years I’ve known this man one thing continues to shine through: he leaves nothing to chance. What does that mean? It means his preparation is meticulous, from his diet to his training, the way he works on the field to the way he handles his recovery, he takes ownership of it all. This is why he’s been so dominant in international rugby for so long, why he’s been a part of the winning team in 2 world cups and is at this moment part of a team who is unbeaten in this super rugby season. With Owen (Ben and his Dad as well) there is no bullshit – just hard work, ownership and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Enjoy this, guys!
Name : Owen Franks
Profession : Professional Rugby player (Crusaders and All Blacks)
I grew up in motueka (small town in New Zealand’s South Island ) moved to Christchurch when was around 8 as dad had started to fish out of port lyttelton. I started training seriously to become a professional when I was 14, dad introduced me to NZs most successful body builder Warren Thin who gave me my first gym programme. From there I started training at an Olympic lifting gym alongside Ben with a NZ Commonwealth weightlifter, Lee at trill. From around 14 our holidays and most spare time was spent either training in the gym or on the field… Dad was there along the way to guide and come up with different ways to get ahead of the pack (and still is).
Once I left school I started playing senior rugby for Linwood. My first job out of school was with akaroa salmon… gutting fish! I worked numerous other jobs from doorman work to general labour on worksites, although these jobs were a means to an end for me; I didn’t enjoy them they drove me harder to achieve my real dream so I wouldn’t have to step on another worksite again. Looking back, this time was crucial to my development. I would gym before work, go to work, finish late and would either have club training or academy training, which would finish around 8pm. I think it gave me an advantage over guys who were signed to contacts straight outta school as I had to work harder for it… so I had a tougher resolve.
My first pro-game was for Canterbury in 2007. First scrum collapsed and I dislocated and ruptured my elbow. It set me back 5 months. From there I made my debut for the crusaders in 2009 against the Western Force at age 21 and made my debut for the all blacks later the same year against Italy. I was the 3rd youngest prop to ever debut for the allblacks.
- Started a test match along side Ben against Ireland in 2010.
- started along side Ben for crusaders on many occasions
- 2 World Cup wins with all blacks
- Squatting 250. Front squatting 210. Cleaning 167 (proudest gym moments).
- Wife and 2 boys (off field)
Social media Instagram: @owen.franks
Q1. What does a normal day look like for you?
- Get up at 6
- Make me and my boy breakfast: 10 egg omelette
- Leave home at 8 o’clock get to rugby park about 8.15
- Check in with Physio then prep for training, foam roll stretch ect.
- First meeting at 9 with units (forwards) team meet at 9.30 and hit the field for team training after that at about 10.
- Team training typically consists of – unit training, live scrums, line-outs and mauls, then team defence and attack.
- 20 minutes once that’s finished for individual skill work.
- Ice bath after training 5 mins and any treatment required from medical team.
- Lunch break.
- Come back in the afternoon and do my strength and conditioning (about an hour and a half including warm up)
- Get home about 4. Rest and recover. Help out with the boys.
- 1 day a week we do a double field train so I do my weights from 11-12.30.
Q2. Who or what has had the biggest impact on your career?
Dad has been the biggest impact on my career. Getting me into strength and conditioning gave me a great advantage. I was physically prepared to handle the pressure and physicality of professional rugby than those with less training experience. He also instilled me with a “work harder than everyone else” mindset.
Q3. What drives you to keep on pushing the limits in your physical and mental/emotional game?
What drives me the most is knowing that I haven’t reached my potential yet as a rugby player. Physically I think I have a way to go and I’ve only just started tapping into the mental side of the game. I’ve been a professional player for close to 10 years now so drive has changed from when I first started. For example, when I started part of my drive was to prove to everyone how great I was, and to show people who’d doubted me all those years I was training that they were wrong!
Now that I’ve accomplished a lot of things in this game my drive has changed. Now I want to reach my potential as a player and person, pushing the boundaries on ways to improve and get better to stay ahead of the pack. I want to be able to look in the mirror when I retire and be happy that I tried my hardest to be the best version of myself.
Q4. What in your words makes a good person/human?
Self-driven people who are never satisfied were they’re at. People who treat others they way they want to be treated.
Q5. What in your mind are two or three things you would do consistently to keep your conditioning (strength, endurance etc) up… things you think are important?
Core lifts of weightlifting: Squat, pulls, bench, power cleans, rows have always been the staple of my gym training. I get a lot of my conditioning and endurance through rugby training, but I’ve always found short met con workouts to be beneficial.
Q6. Favourite Quote?
Effort is between you and you – Ray Lewis.
Q7. How and why is physical preparation important to you? How does it impact you as a person? What benefits do you see?
It’s important to me, because I like getting to game day knowing I’ve physically prepared well and am ready to perform. Playing in the front row at tight head prop is a physically demanding position that requires you to be strong! I work hard in the gym, because feeling strong and powerful gives me confidence.
I also feel that having a good strength base has made my body a lot more resilient to the knocks. I’ve had my share of niggles, but in terms of longterm injury and joint trouble my body has held up well and I attribute that to the work that’s been done in the gym
Q8. Best advice you’ve been given?
Scott Hansen a friend and mentor of mine told me when I first became a pro to try not to ride the highs and lows of rugby – stay in the middle and keep a level head. Stay focused on what you can control and your vision
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