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16 Year Old Rugby Player Needs Complete Beginner Plan

Hello, I am a beginner to weightlifting. The only machine I currently have at my disposal is a benchpress, but i’m about to go back to school, where i habe access to a full fitness centre. I was wondering if someone could assist me in finding an excercise plan that can affect my full body, for the full fitness centre and bench. I cann access the fitness centre for 45 minutes a day monday-thursday and then i have up to two hours to spend on home excercise with my bench press. I weigh 140lbs and i’m 5’11, I can bench 50lbs, squat 50lbs and curl 50lbs. With my leg attachment to my press I can lift 200lbs with my quads. I eat just enough to maintain my weight, but i’m slowly increasing my diet with the goal of bulking for Rugby. I’m also wondering if I should add any protein to my diet. I have money to spend on supplements, and a supplement store down the road from my house. I’m going to attach some photos so you know what im working with. Again, my goal is to bulk as much as possible. I’d like to workout 5-6 days a week. Thank you in advance.

I am legitimately jealous of the blank slate you have right now. You have the potential to put on some serious and quality gains if you do it right and stay consistent.

That being said, you are small as hell right now. So especially with a sport like rugby in might, size and muscle mass should be your number one goal.

I think the first and most important lesson when start the iron game is that lifting and strength training will be a marathon not a sprint. It will take a long time, possibly years to get where you want to get. It can be a super fun process along the way! Always remember that progress is always progress. If in a month or two you can bench 55 instead of 50, you should be proud. I wish i had understood that when i first started!!

The second thing i think is important is that you pick a quality program, and you stick to it for the first 6 months. I would honestly suggest Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, the Big But Boring template. Maybe even the “For Athletes” version

The 3rd and probably the most crucial thing i want to stress is nutrition. You are a small ass kid. Nothing wrong with that but you need to realize that right now, so you can work above it. As to nutrition, in the beginning, you shouldn’t worry about macros or calorie percentages, and ESPECIALLY not worry about supplements. Maybe in a few months get a good whey protein, but for now, eat 3-4 meals a week, every single day. Do not skip a meal every. Meat/protein/eggs, carb like rice or pasta, and lots of veggies. Fill up on those., every single day. Again do not skip meals, even on weekends. Get second and third helpings if you get the chance.

Again YOU DO NOT NEED SUPPLEMENTS right now. Those will come later when you understand what they do and how to better use them. You have money for supps now? Go spend it on the “5/3/1” book and read and reread it. Then take thats left over and buy some chicken breasts. You will be better off.

Most importantly, enjoy being involved with a process that lets you literally improve yourself physically and mentally every single day. And ask questions when you need it. Good luck man.


Beast already said almost everything worth saying. One thing I’d like to add:

Stick to very basic training that doesn’t interfere with your sport as that’s your main goal. Basic training with basic big movements like squats, bench, deadlifts, overhead press and some assisting lat work and you’re golden.

I also emphasize what beast already said, you do not need supplements at this point. Eat a lot of regular food but keep an eye on your protein intake.


Here you go bud, here is the book Beast is recommending you:
5/3/1 Book, Hard Copy, by Jim Wendler

Another great text to check out is “Starting Strength,” by Mark Rippetoe.

EDIT: Sorry Mods for the link, didn’t think about that when I was typing.


Lots of good info so far, for sure.

5/3/1 is a solid program no doubt, but I believe it can sometimes be “too” open-ended for beginners. I’d suggest Dan John’s Southwood Program instead. 4 basic exercises, 3 days a week, and you only need a barbell.

Even without knowing what you eat, yes, you need to add protein. And carbs. And healthy fats. And calories. Like the guys have basically said, you’re a delicate little thing right now and you absolutely need to put meat on your bones (Dan John calls it armor for good reason) as soon as possible. Check the nutrition info I laid out here and focus on eating those foods every day.

I agree you don’t need any special supplements beyond a protein-carb workout drink for now. Focus on eating 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, and gaining bodyweight every week. That’s got to be the starting point.

Yep Southwood/Dan John programs would be ideal.

At 140lbs your’re going to get crunched into the dirt on the rugby pitch and need to get up to at least say 165 ASAP. Obviously eat tons of clean food, and for the short term ONE day a week I would get a bit crazy with junk food. This will help also…

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Lots of great training advice on here. As far as supplements go, some people are saying to avoid them. I’m going to say the opposite. Make sure that you are taking supplements to meet your BASIC nutrition. I would recommend the following

  1. magnesium such as Biotest ZMA or mineral formula
  2. some type of greens drink or Biotest Superfood
  3. fish oil – such as Biotest Flameout or cod liver oil
  4. Vitamin D
  5. Whey protein and maybe BCAA’s such as Biotest peptides

These supplements will take are of any nutritional gaps that you might have. I would avoid stuff like pre workout and creatine right now. Save that for when you really need it.

Thank you for the help. After last Rugby season, I realized I needed to get something on my bones. To sum everything up, i’ve decided to hit the books, and start eating like I mean it. Lots of carbs and proteins like meat and eggs. If I missed something, please let me know. Two additionalchings; in order to gain weight should I slow down on my cardio routine? I go for 10k runs 5 times a week. Also, I should probably stay away from those “8 week transformation programs” and such that people sell online for around $100, right?

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You don’t need to slow down your cardio routine as long as you make up for the lost calories by eating. You’re going to need conditioning work for rugby anyway. And yes, screw any transformation programs etc. entirely.

If the sport is your main goal, then practicing your skills and improving traits beneficial to that sport are your main concerns.

Whoa, yeah you need to stop that immediately. -Number one reason keeping you skinny right there.

Do a run once a week tops until you get your weight up and even better swap it for sprints/timed miles/ HIIT conditioning.

And yeah dont need to spend a penny on transformation programs.
Superior info can be found here and for free. Read pretty much any 10 articles on this site but especially a bunch by guys like Dan John, Wendler and Thib

10k 5 times a week?! Brother your metabolism can probably shred through anything you throw at it if you consistently run like that. Start eating big, boy youre gonna need to!!

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What position do you play in rugby? I’m pretty sure running 10k five times a week is absolutely not necessary or even beneficial to the sport.

I’m not an expert in the sport, but I’d put explosiveness, mental and physical capacity for repetitive fast sprints and overall strength a mile higher on the list than regular cardiovascular endurance of that level.

Holy shit yes slow down on your running! Keep 2x a week in there at say 5K. Off the top of my head I believe the average distance accumulated during a match is about 5k so you don’t need to be running 10’s. You need the cardio for rugby, but you do NOT need to be running every day like that! The trick with rugby is to BOTH powerful AND be able to run. And right now you can run but you don’t have anything on your bones.

So, do like any committed athlete and focus on your biggest weaknesses first and foremost.

Nothing wrong with your diet choices there–eat good, real, nutritious food instead of junk food and shit. You want to be a top athlete? Well, then don’t put crappy fuel into a car you want to be a top fuel race car.

The biggest thing with eating is consistency, just like the gym for muscle and power. If you eat big for 4 days a week but don’t eat big the other 3 days you are not going to be growing any. Do not worry about cutting weight, you’ll cut plenty in training camps and practices anyway. Your sole goal right now is to get as much lean mass on you as possible while maintaining a baseline of aerobic ability with your 2 days a week.

I started very skinny, 6’2" ish and 160. For me to get bigger required me to set a schedule–with an alarm clock in my phone or watch–to eat on. I ate 5-8 meals a day depending on the year. I carried food with me everywhere and if I didn’t have food I found a place to buy food, made the best choices I could, and then ate. Never miss a meal. Start with 5 meals, it’s easier to get into the habit there than with 8 meals a day. Never miss breakfast either.

And yes, obviously stay away from 8 week transformation programs lol. Muscle gain is slow and takes forever. Fat loss is about 5 times as fast and basically just requires being active and not being lazy about food or training.

I recommend you have 2 goal weights: 1st weight is a short term goal (I also like the idea of getting to 160-165 ASAP). The 2nd weight is a longer term goal. I recommend you overshoot your goal weights because to carry that on the field while running a ton will require you have some extra–it’s a well known fact that athletes tend to lose weight during the season with all the practices, travel, and games.

Yep. There’s a reason Micheal Phelps eats like 13,000 calories a day…

I disagree. That’s true for all sports, and more true for say basketball or baseball or tennis, but in a contact sport like rugby or football an athlete has to not only be good at the skills of the game but also physically able to both compete and withstand punishment. The OP is not at the point where he is physically rugged enough to withstand tons of punishment or be physically powerful enough to be a danger on the field.

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Double checked–I wasn’t too far off. Average distance is about 4.5 k for front row players and 6.8 k for scrum half. And almost all of that is low speed, bursts of fast running accumulated during a match is less than 1 km.

So 10 k is overkill. Way overkill. Essentially your maintenance is fine at 5 km twice a week, and as you get closer to season start to add 1/4 - 1/2 k sprints into your 5k runs to mimic the bursts of speed necessary in a match. Now focus on gaining muscle.

Another note–you will want to focus on hamstring, upper back, and core strength (not just crunches, I mean a variety of oblique, ab, and lower back work). The muscles that keep you healthy and make you go fast and tackle powerfully are not located in the mirror, they’re behind you. I would add single leg work like step ups and lunges in to your week. Basics are fine for now–Southwood program is a great basic program. I would basically do that program and add 1 single leg exercise 2x a week to maintain a bit of hip control. Only 1 exercise, and only like 3 sets. Otherwise basically do the program as written.

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Thank you for the assistance, everyone. I’m cutting my running down to two 5km runs a week, and im eating 5 meals a day, going to go up to 6 soon. Final goal is eight. Does anyone know of a formula, or a way I can calculate how many calories I need to consume to bulk up? Can’t find one online.

There are several, but the thing you have to remember is that the formulas are really just estimates based on averages. They are only useful as a starting point and shouldn’t really by relied on for fine tuning.

Best way to do it is to just go with tracking calories every day, then tracking weight. If you eat consistently the same amount of calories every day and your weight increased, you have enough. If it didn’t, add a little bit more.

https://tdeecalculator.net that’s a basic calculator.

Your rugby would benefit significantly if you dropped all the runs. Then spent one day doing sprints (10-30m) and jumps and one day doing ladders, rope, cone drills and throws with a 1km light jog as a warm and and cool down on each day.

Going to disagree with this, respectfully, for a few reasons.

  1. He needs the aerobic capacity for long runs. Average length run during a match is ~5 k, much of it at lower intensities more common to a steady run.

  2. Along with the above, he has an entire offseason now. He should not let his aerobic capacity suffer as he gains weight–and in any case he shouldn’t drop the runs for nearly a whole offseason. Contrary to popular opinion running a couple miles twice a week isn’t bad for an athlete. Especially one needing to maintain a middle distance running ability.

  3. Physiologically–maintaining runnng ability as he grows will improve capillary density in the new muscle, which will allow him to use it and not tire out as quickly as without it. Also it will help maintain the metabolic adaptations he already has (such as mitochondrial function and number).

  4. Adding sprints into his long runs will be more sport specific, more closely mimicking his required tasks.

  5. The agility drills are a great idea—but he can add the agility drills and jumps in as a warm-up to his long runs. A workout before the workout. Along with the time honored Dan John tradition of “the warm up IS the workout”, it will help him maintain his specific endurance without going crazy on it.

A meathead wanting to get lean or even an mma fighter or football player would really do well to work on your advice, but rugby demands significantly more running endurance than “regular” American power sports do.

My 2 cents