T Nation

Conflicting messages

I need help from those who have first hand experience, all you rugby players: I play tight head prop, and right now I’m about 200 pounds at around 10% BF. However, my midsection is a little too soft for me, and I feel that I am moving slower than I should be on the field. I am already in better shape then the other props except for one guy, but I feel I could drop another ten pounds and be much faster. Anyways to the question, for a prop is it more important to be lean and strong or to carry some extra weight around to throw the extra weight around in a game? Right now I’m doing a Berardi-style Don’t Diet along with a four week base-strength-power peak strength program and extensive long and short distance sprints interval training five days a week. Thanks y’all, btw I am a total newbie to rugby so I really am starting from square one.

I played for 8 years for a mens club and 3 yrs. in college. Mostly as a wing forward, so I played close to the props. They come in all shapes and sizes but the most effective I saw were built low to the ground and had a few extra pounds on them. Powerful legs, back and arms would serve a prop well. Build your endurance with the sprints, speed is good in rugby but not many props I played with were real burners, quick yes but not much past 10 yds. Most of the props I played with were closer to 20%BF so you should be able to use your endurance to your advantage. It’s a great game, you’ll love it. I play in the old boys games now (35+) “old age and treacheory vs. youth and speed”.

Most prop are fatties, i hook, and my brother props. We have been far more successful at ANY bodywieght by conditioning harder than everyone else. If you start by adding jump roping and GPP to your workouts the belly will dissapear and your fitness will help you tremendously, but i wouldnt suggest dieting, let teh exercise remove fat, and eat a lot of clean food.

Its all according to the style you team play. If you team hold the ball in the forwards then weight is the way. If your team are more in line with the expansive game then strength and speed. The expansive way is the way to play, leave fat old bastards like me to play the game the old way.

Do you happen to be at SDSU? I say the Aztec part of your name and was thinking that might be a possibility. Successful program there…anyway, on to your question. I played prop in college for several years and while I was there I was about 225 at 15% bf. I was in much better shape than the other props who were all 20%+ bf. Interestingly, they weighed less than me, right around 200-210. What always served me best though was not the ability to throw weight around but the ability to get to the breakdowns quickly. Don’t sacrifice your endurance (one the most important qualities for a forward) for a couple of extra pounds. If the coach sees you have great endurance and you’re getting to the rucks an mauls you’ll play. That was always the problem with my team, the forwards were out of shape and didn’t provide enough support for the backs. Good luck with your season.

Work on GPP. Run hills, drive a weighted scrum sled, do circuits (star jumps, mountain climbers, burpees, jumping jacks). Strong legs and a strong core are where it’s at. The best part about tight-head prop is gaining the upper hand in the scrum and folding the opposing loose-head like an accordian. When this happens you will drive the scrum.
I’ve been both a fat slow prop (beginning of my college career) and a quick thinner hooker (at present). By losing fat and maintaining muscle and strength levels I have taken my game to a whole new level. I reach rucks faster, run harder, and make more tackles. Lean and strong will out-motor the guy with extra weight over an 80 minute match.

A ‘few extra pounds’ never did anyone any good. If you want extra weight, add it in muscle, not fat. I’ve played just about every position on the field, and the best props I have ever seen are big and lean - and big and lean always out manuvers big and ‘heavy’. The worst is the props who suck wind after running 10 steps. Remember, if you have end up with the ball and an open path to the try line you want to be able to outrun the other team… and flatten the full back! One of our props stops when she gets the ball, because she’s too fat to run more than 5 steps. She has a lot of pushing power in the scrum but besides that she’s pretty much useless.

Don’t compromise your stamina and speed, but to me, you sound a little small for a prop. Remember, in some cases you’ll be going against guys who are 60 lbs heavier than you. Unless you’re pretty strong, I wouldn’t lose any more weight. We had a guy come prop for us at 190 lbs after losing 30 or so during Christmas break, and he just got worked. Definately keep up the sprinting training, because, as was said before, the game is going in that direction now, but perhaps switch from the Don’t diet program to Massive Eating, and try to slowly put on some quality mass.

Damn yall thanks for the expiditious responses. Yeah, SDSU Aztecs, first year it’s confusing as hell right now . . . I’m learning though. As far as being small, Yeah but I am strong, not nearly strong enough but then being satisfied never got anyone anywhere. I bench 330 squat 430 (weak I know) and dead lift 560. I don’t even have a belly, but I know the last five-ten pounds will make a difference in speed and endurance. Um, what else . . . Michelle, totally agree extra weight doesn’t help anyone. We play expansive style rugby so superior conditioning is key (duh). I do run a lot of hills, jump rope, interval training all that stuff, I just came off a two week layoff after the season because I contracted a nasty cold virus, laid me up in bed for a week. Thanks for all the great input though.

hey man you can go one of two ways it think. if you cut down that little bit of weight build as much power in your legs as you can. more important than weight is the ability to push with your legs in the scrum. but if you are a little weak in the legs a little weight to throw around isnt bad

Try using a jump rope to build some agility. It’s good to have some good footwork in sports like Rugby and Football.