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Episode 2: Overcoming Adversity and Chasing Down Grand Slams with Rosie Galligan

In the next Hytro Performance podcast Dr Warren Bradley, Founder and Head of Elite Performance, and Richard Frost, Chief Marketing Officer, met with Rosie Galligan Saracens RFC & England Red Rose, to hear about her journey in becoming a decorated professional rugby player.

Rosie Galligan sat in front of mic with Hytro Performance Podcast graphic behind

With a growing number of titles to her name, including clinching two grand slams with England Red Roses, Rosie Galligan exemplifies a superb rugby player. Yet, her path to victory was paved with adversity, marked by injuries and illnesses. Rosie candidly recounts to Dr. Warren and Richard the arduous journey and unwavering dedication essential to sustaining a career in women’s international professional rugby. 


Starting at the beginning, Rosie explains that at age sixteen she “Went along to a touch tournament one summer because my older brother needed a girl in his team and it was just a place that I really enjoyed being, the family feel, and the social element. It was just somewhere where I really felt myself.” 


After attending Aylesford Bulls RFC, Rosie stormed a trial at Kent RFU and later joined the England Under 20s before undertaking a positional change to a back row Lock. “I found my feet in terms of positioning, it suited my physical attributes a bit more in terms of my height, my size, and my speed as well.” 


Rosie Galligan scoring try for England Red Roses


As Vice-Captain of the England Under 20s, an opportunity arose that led to Rosie playing on the international stage. The 2019 Six Nations saw two of the second-row players break their fingers in a training session ahead of the Ireland game, so Rosie was called upon to take a shirt. “That was the highlight of my career, my first cap” she added. “It was at that moment where I was like, I’ve made it.  But it was my second cap where I was like I’ve now worked hard for this opportunity and feel I can be a Red Rose as I’ve earned it on merit rather than through injury.” 


Richard was keen to understand more about the resilience Rosie has displayed throughout her time as an athlete, overcoming several setbacks and still achieving top-level success in the sport. He comments: “Rosie, like many female professional athletes, came to their sport in their teens through a passion for the game rather than with an early mindset of turning it into a career. Rosie shared how her hard work, commitment to understanding her body, and utilising all her support networks to their fullest meant she could achieve two Grand Slams and now be chasing down the next.” 


Before going pro balancing rugby training, workouts, and a job meant Rosie felt she couldn’t give 100% so transitioning to full-time professionalism allowed Rosie to immerse herself entirely in her craft: “Being able to train as a full-time athlete has just completely changed that. It allows you to try and be the best version of yourself.” 


Rosie Galligan performing ski rows wearing Hytro BFR Performance Shorts and Tee


Intrigued to learn more about Rosie’s strength and conditioning training, Warren asked how this supports specific rugby skill development. “Understanding that Rosie undertakes a four-day gym programme, two based on strength and two on volume with BFR used on one of those days is really insightful. We know BFR training can enable quicker adaptations when looking to build strength, so it’s great to hear it is supporting Rosie with her Individual Development Plan of being more explosive in her upper body strength.” 


With professionalism, not only is Rosie ensuring she is maximising her workouts outside of her training, but she is also focussed on utilising all the advice and guidance available to her at both club and country levels. Since being contracted with England, Rosie told Warren and Richard, “They have a lot more say over our season at club. Every four or five weeks we’ve got a bit of a down weekend where you will not play, or you’ll play 20 minutes off the bench. And that’s your athletic development week.” 


With the national team and clubs now working more closely together, there is a greater opportunity for the functions within the clubs to collaborate too. Rosie shared her experience of a recent seminar on menstrual cycles which was presented in collaboration by the medical staff, nutritionists, and strength and conditioning coaches. This type of session underscores the commitment to progressing education in women’s sport, creating an environment conducive to optimal performance and well-being. 


Rosie Galligan stretching on gym floor wearing Hytro BFR Performance Shorts and Tee


This kind of female-centric education aligns with Hytro’s ambitions to support the development of female-specific research to empower coaches of, and women athletes themselves, to elevate their training and performance standards in line with the rapid professionalism of female sports. Rosie shared her view: “The only way is up for us as female athletes and the more that people delve into doing research for us and our bodies, that’s how we’re going to be better and better every year.” 


As Rosie looks forward to the impending Women’s Six Nations, the conversation turned to achieving a long career. Warren called on his coaching days to highlight the importance of nurturing oneself 24 hours a day as an essentially self-employed businessperson. “It was of no surprise to me that Rosie grasps the importance of looking after herself – focusing on nutrition, sleep, training, and recovery. Implementing Recovery BFR whilst she has her protein shake makes total sense and just shows how easy it can be to integrate BFR into your daily routine to maximise recovery.” 


Rosie’s narrative epitomises resilience, dedication, and passion, serving as a testament to the relentless pursuit of excellence in women’s international professional rugby. From modest beginnings in touch rugby to her instrumental role in the England Red Roses squad, Rosie’s journey embodies the essence of perseverance and wholehearted commitment both on and off the pitch. 


Listen to the podcast on Spotify or watch it now on YouTube. 


Learn more about how Hytro BFR can elevate rugby performance below. 

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