T Nation

Improving Power & Strength for Optimal Rugby Performance


hello all
I currently play rugby flanker and centre, so for these positions in the game i have to have very good level of strength speed stamina and explosiveness.

At the moment i weigh 80 kg which is fine but in future would like to weigh more. my current 1 rep maxs are deadlift: 172.5 beltless 115 kg bench 140 squat ass to grass. I have a really important tournament in end november start of november whcih their will be scouts their so i want to be in very good physical form to try and impress them.

My training atm consists of bench and squats on monday tuesday thursday and friday and deadlifts on wednesday and saturdays, with sets of 4x6 4x5 4x4 4x3 for the bench and squats and 4x4 4x3 deads i do 4x3 box jumps to prepare and medicine ball toss aswell and do conditioning but as finishers only for 20 minutes e.g rowing machine hard for 30 seconds rest 30 . this is a programme to only get started back into weight training and get my body back into it.

However i want to become more explosive, stronger maybe add some muscle and be in better condition for the upcoming tournament. For power i know i should do plyos and sprints. plyos after the warm up to activate the body and sprints as conditining. however i dont know which programme to use or follow i was thing Westside for skinny bastards as it involves strenght and dynamic work however i thought that this programme should be atleast a 12 week training programme. aswell with jim wendlers 5/3/1 for strength , i know i can put in power cleans and jumps and throws but i want to focus on all the aspects as much as possible and improve them to be better on the field physically.


Then I suggest you eat more, and eat more carbs also if you are going to increase training volume in the middle of a season.

The in-season is not a time to make drastic progress in your physique or strength/power. The reason is obvious…you have tons of games and wear and tear.

That said, your best general approach is going to be gradually increasing volume and reactive exercises like jumps, bounds, power cleans, etc. as well as working on lateral movement. Then I would deload about 8 days before the tournament and keep eating a surplus (healthy foods). The last 8 days before the tournament I would be focusing on jumps, bounds, cleans in low volume and do 1 squat session also of low volume. Essentially you need to cut back the volume and intensity that you built over the 8-10 weeks but NOT take a bunch of days off to get rusty…basically just go in and get “primed” but don’t wear yourself down. A glorified warm-up basically.

I’m still not a huge fan of ramping training volume up in the middle of a season. But if you do, eat a LOT of good healthy food and carbs to fuel recovery. Also pay attention to vitamin status, it can help with endurance or prevent cramping from all the work you put in (magnesium supps, calcium supplements, and salt intake, along with potassium rich foods like spinach)


@Aragorn thank you for the reply,
One thing i want to mention is that actually were not inseason yet, i live abroad and were going on tour to the UK to play so from now to around end of november i dont really have many games maybe 3-4 maximum and only 1-2 actual rugby sessions a week.

Is this a good programme for the next 8 weeks? you can critique it as much as you want:

sUNDAY: Lower
6x3 box jumps
4x3 hang power cleans (60%)
6x3 back squat (80%)
4x3 speed deadlifts (60%)
split squats 4x6 supersetted with 4x5 good mornings
finish with core and sprints

Monday: upper
6x5 medicine ball press against wall
military press 4x6 (80%)
speed bench 4x3 (60%)
barbell row 4x8 suppersetted by incline db press 4x8
shoulder press 4x8
finish with core and conditiong

Notes: thursday will be front squats instead of back squats and thinking of replacing goodmornings with hip thrusts for the power, maybe good idea? and sprints and core

saturday: bench heavy and do push press as the speed movement of upper and conditioning. i want to add in pull ups aswell somewhere just to put a bit of muscle aswell so if anything you have to improve it please leave a comment! :slight_smile:


sorry forgot to add in the progression, so every week im going to add 2% to my lifts so from 80% its gonna go 82% 84% etc etc


Google ‘Matt rhodes train like a football player’