5/3/1 Rugby Off-Season Program Advice?

Hi guys,

It is coming up to the last games of the season so it’s time to work on a new Program.
My main aim is to gain a little more strength and put some more mass on.
This is what I have came up with so far, just looking for some advice or recommendations if there are any to the program! :wink:

5/3/1 - Off-Season Program

Squat - 5/3/1
Squat - 5x10 or 10x3
Leg Curl - 5x10
Sprints or Suicide Runs

Bench - 5/3/1
Bench - 5x10 or 10x3
Kroc Rows - 4 Warm-ups leading to a Max set
Running (20-30 mins)

Weds: REST

Deadlift - 5/3/1
Romanian Deadlifts - 5x10 or 10x3
Hanging Leg Raises - 5x15
Sprints or Suicide Runs

Press - 5/3/1
Press - 5x10 or 10x3
Pull-ups - 5x10 or 10x3 (Weighted)
Running (20-30 mins)

Arms, Abs and other areas of weakness that need work on!
Run (20-30 mins) or Sprint

As you can see I have put quite alot of running and Sprinting in there, would it be a better idea to cut back on some of the sprinting or running and working on that closer to next season?

Also I will be adding some Olympic Lifts and Box Jumps in before the Squat and Deadlift workouts to get a little Plyometrics in.
Now I also chose to do RDL’s instead of 5x10 Deadlifts as I find 5/3/1 on Deadlifts enough and the RDL’s will really work the Hamstrings which are slightly left out for isolation.



I’d keep the running in if you can handle the workload.

I’m no expert, but if your main focus is gaining strength and mass, I would cut the running at least in half if not limit it to one sprint session and one 20-30 minute session a week (you don’t want to lose too much conditioning being a rugby player). The energy spent on 5 running sessions a week could be better invested in mobility and soft tissue work to support the strength training, or on additional training. I would add some single leg work to leg days, but that is just my personal preference. Olympic lifting might not be as helpful when added to this program as you think, it will tax the body and make it difficult for you to hit your pure strength/mass work as hard as you can, maybe separate it to it’s own day? Either way, as long as you work hard and eat right, you should make good progress with a 5/3/1 program :slight_smile: Just my 2 cents, take it for what it’s worth. Good luck!

Thankyou guys, much appreciated. I have decided to keep the running in the program as intended as I am currently within recruitment for the Royal Marine Commandos so conditioning is highly important aswell as strength and mass.

Now definitely agree with you saying cut down the conditioning if my main aim is Strength and Mass but I will give it a go, if I see that my weight is not increasing, I will cut down on my running days. Trial and Error!

When I look at the program it does seem like a heavy workload, will hurt to begin with but will surely feel better after a few weeks! :slight_smile:


However, would It be better to do running after lower body days and sprinting after upper body days?


For all you know you already have the work capacity to do the whole program. Try it and make changes when needed. Conditioning is probrably already winding down for the end of the season.

For rugby keep the running and sprints in as you need a mix of strength and conditioning work. You may also want to consider other conditioning methods such as farmers walks, tyre flips, prowler etc if you have access or even complexes.

When I used to play rugby I followed 531 with some conditioning work similar to what you are doing and made some decent gains in the off season, then switched to 531 for athletes in season to cut down my weights to 2 sessions a week to make sure I have enough recovery from games, but still make strength gains.