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Rugby + Gaining Size


So yeah, I've been alternating between Advanced German Volume Training, Body Building's Next Frontier, and Pendulum Training. However, I started Rugby about a month and a half ago and continued with the rigorous training. I was training either before practice or after, and usually the night before games.

My body is aching at almost every joint known to man and my muscles are constantly cramping, even though I'm keeping myself hydrated. I'm currently 6'0 at 210 and I would like to continue training, but I need a new program...fast! Any ideas guys? I want to continue adding size, with some strength. Thanks!


Hey Bleming,
I am currently in season doing CT's Superman programme, seeing some good results size wise.
Although I am missing the ab's work mostly and when I have a big game on Sunday tend to go a bit easier on the Friday gym session(Saturday from the programme).

Most guys I know just try to maintain in season as best they can.

You doing contact training everyday or just mostly running??


I do the following. It's a workout I have been developing for a while. Just enter in the one rep maxes. Sometime I take it a little ease on Friday. And eat. A lot.


To me it doesn't seem like a bodybuilding routine would compliment a rugby playing season very well. You are probably training too often to recover from both. I'd suggest trying out a basic westside template. Then you could tweak it to fit your needs. I have actually cut out the dynamic bench day and now just have a higher volume max bench day. I only lift 3 days a week and recover much better.


Hummm I guess the spread sheet didn't post. If you are interested, you can PM me.


How's your diet? Can you get a lot more calories than you currently do? (Drinking a lot of milk, etc.)


I'm a rugby player, on and off, hoping to be more on than off eventually. I would suggest whole body, HIT style, twice a week. I couldn't gain much size doing splits during 4 years of rugby in college, and I ate like a horse.

Don't forget to sleep a lot, too. Most teams practice late evenings, and I don't know if you need to get up in the mornings for work like I do.


I had the same problem, one month into the season I had lost almost 10 lbs. I just started eating everything and put the lost mass back on quickly, and im now gaining pretty consistently on a 3 day a week full body split. Just before games I go a little lighter on the squats/deadlifts or just skip them all together.


I am gonna start lifting 2x a week w/ weights now that the season has started. Normally I lift 3-4 times a week but I wanna make sure I am solid for game day saturday.

Schedule is gonna look like:

Sunday : lift #1
Monday : Sprints
Tues: Practice
Weds: lift #2
Thurs : Practice
Fri : light cardio (bike work prolly)
Sat: Game day

The lift is gonna be along CW's principles, 10x3, compound movements, low rest times.


I have been playing for four years now, and during the season I usually did a 6 day a week split, chest day, back day, arms, etc. But recently I have changed to a 3 day a week total body style routine, incorporating big movements, deadlifts, snatches, lunges, and my size is increasing and my recovery is enough so that I am not sore for Saturday games, but eating and sleeping properly is key


I normally do Monday ME whole body and wednesday RE upper body. Play 2 games on friday and one on saturday. Training everyday. Do sprints tuesdays
conditioning at training. Thats inseason. Plenty time to recover before games and my size and strength are still going up quite well


ditch the bodybuilding, stick to deadlifts and squats in the off season to build max strength then in season
work on your speed so you can hit your man harder, its all about power and fitness and you dont need to be in the gym to get that.

Try wind sprints, hill sprints, buddy carry`s and explosive push ups where you go down into the push up position and explode up so your arms and legs are off the floor then bring one knee up to your body so you end up in the lunge position, its bloody hard, do 5 sets of 2 or 3 reps with a few minutes inbetween.

Dont compromise size for mobility, you can weight 210 pounds and hit the tackle harder than a 225 pound man who cant move fast and has lousy lungs coz he spends all his time pumping iron.


You're kidding me that you are training after your practice sessions? Arn't you?


Hey Blemming,

Try this article by Joe Defranco

Q: Joe,
We’re 4 weeks into our high school football season and I’ve already lost 8 pounds! I feel like I’m getting weaker also. What can I do? I only have time to lift about 2 days a week. Is this enough? I’m having a good year so far but if I continue to lose strength and weight, I think my performance will suffer at the end of the year.
Please help.


A: Jimmy,
You are experiencing a common problem. Most athletes gain size and strength in the off-season only to see their gains disappear when it really counts. I always ask my football players, “What good is it to be big, strong and fast in May, if you are going to let yourself get small, weak and slow in November?” This question usually helps them realize the importance of a properly designed in-season strength & conditioning program.

It is appropriate that you said that you’ve lost 8 lbs. and that you feel like you’re “getting weaker also”. I say this because the #1 limiting factor in maintaining your strength during the season is your ability to maintain your bodyweight. If you lose weight during the season, chances are your strength will be lost as well. Basically, the best way to maintain your strength during the season is to maintain your muscle mass. The in-season programs I design for my high school football players keep this in mind.

You also mentioned that you could only lift 2 days a week. The good news is that’s all you need! I think one of the reasons that high school kids give up on their in-season strength training is because they set unrealistic training goals. They say that they’re going to lift everyday and then when they don’t have time, they get frustrated and quit training all together. Remember that you now have to go to school, football practice and meetings. All three of these are of utmost importance. So we must set realistic goals.

You must know that you can maintain your size and strength by lifting only 2 days a week. I feel the best way to go about this is to lift the day after the game (usually Sunday) and then again mid-week. The day after the game I would focus mostly on muscle mass maintenance. Warm-up and then perform 2 work sets of 6-10 reps for all the major muscle groups of your body. This workout will help you recover from your game as well as prevent muscle mass loss. A sample workout is as follows:

A. Barbell Squats – 2 sets of 8-10
B. Flat Dumbell Bench Press – 2 sets of 8-10
C. Chin-ups – 2 sets of max reps
D. Standing lateral raises – 2 sets of 8-10
E. Dumbell Curls – 2 sets of 8-10
F. Swiss ball crunches – 2 sets of 25
*After you warm-up, this workout shouldn’t take you longer than 35 min.

You would perform your “explosive” lift(s) during the second workout of the week. This is the day you can also work on your “weak links” (usually upper back/external rotators). Here’s a sample workout for Tuesday or Wednesday:

A. Hang Cleans – 3 sets of 3
A. Box Squats with chains (50-60% of 1RM) – 6 sets of 2
B. Reverse Hyperextensions – 2 sets of 10
C. Bent-over Dumbell Rows – 2 sets of 8 each arm
D. Cable external rotation – 2 sets of 12 each arm
E. Abs (choice)