T Nation

Rugby/Powerlifting (Log/Advice)

Hey lads,

I’m a longtime reader of T-Nation’s fabulous articles, but a first-time poster to these forums. I decided to keep a log online here, partly for accountability, but mostly (and shamelessly) to see if anyone has any advice, critiques, or tweaks to offer.

The other reason that i’m writing this log is because slowly and very painfully I am finally beginning to learn that what I put in my mouth has an IMMENSE effect on how I perform in the gym and on the field. I used to take the “football player” approach to nutrition - if you can see it, eat it, then eat some more. I’m not in to crash diets, but i’ve finally cleaned up my nutrition, and I want to log the effects to see what happens.

As a disclaimer (and Mr. Mod, please move this if it deserves to be in another forum) I put this in the “Beginner” forum since i’m new to posting here.

First, a background:

I’ve been doing a straight Westside program for about a year (don’t worry, i’ve been cycling my ME and assistance exercises and taking my reload weeks and such), and I am also a D1 Rugby player (Loosehead Prop, if you’re familiar with the sport) for TCU.

Age: 20
Height: 5’7"
Weight: 200 lbs. even
BF%: 16%

1RM Bench: 240 lbs.
1RM Squat: 380 lbs.
1RM Deadlift: 400 lbs.

Nutrition (daily averages):
Calories: 2200-3000
Carbs: 200g
Fats: 100g
Protien: 300-450g

And no worries… never been a ‘junk-food’ sort of guy. Actually, that’s a complete lie. Take a look at my BF% and you’ll see that I was indeed once the junk-food king! Haha. However, for the purposes of this log, the only nutritional critiques i’m looking for are whether or not someone thinks i’m getting too much or too little of something. Writing out my whole menu every day would be tedious, and i’m a seasoned enough T-Nation article vet to know what sort of stuff I should be eating.

And finally, the most important part, my goals (clearly stated):

Short term (4 weeks):

  • Move up to 210 lbs.
  • Whittle body fat down 3-5%
  • Increase Bench to 245-250
  • Increase Deadlift to 415
  • Increase Squat to 400

Long term (more general):

  • Increase athletic prowess (Strength, Agility, and Speed)
  • Solidify my core strength
  • Bring my biochemestry back into balance after years of eating terribly

OKAY, on to the log. If anyone is still reading. If not, i’ll pretend like people are.


Dec. 01, 2006:
(note: all weight in lbs.)
Weigh-in: 201

ME Bench Press-
3 Rep workup in 5’s to 185
1 Rep workup in 2.5’s to 240

JM Press-
4x10 @ 65

Cable Pushdowns-
2x10 @ 130
2x10 @ 140

Seated Bar Curls-
3x8 @ 45
1x8 @ 55

Lateral Raises-
4x10 @ 22.5

Notes: 140 was HARD today. Maybe just one of those days; I hope so. I’d hate to think this new ‘eating the Berardi way’ thing is mucking up my strength. That’s the opposite of what I want.

Conditioning and Agility work for Rugby (mostly sprints, cone work, etc. + a 2 mile light jog).

END Dec. 1


Dec. 03, 2006:
(note: all weight in lbs.)
Weigh-in: 204

Dynamic Bench Press-
10x3 @ 135

Cable Pushdowns-
4x10 @ 140

Seated Bar Curls
3x10 @ 55
1x10 @ 60

Military Press
4x4 @ 135

4x10 @ 120

Conditioning and Agility:
-Hill Sprints
-Side Jumps

END Dec. 3

Glad to hear your playing Rugby.
I played Hooker ten years . In college wieghed 180 played for ECU( benched 300 #). For Mens Rugby I wieghed 215 for Div 1 team.

My humble opinion
I think I would leave the power lifting alone. I would do the following.

any Neck excersize
pushups 20 per 5 sets
heavey shrugs
power cleans
power clean and press
do lots of standing presses.
dumbell clean and press try doing for cardio due 25 or so each hand for reps.

this will get your back, legs and shoulders strong i never used my chest to push a scrum or ruck. this is a overall body workout that will get your cardio in check and give you more bang for your workout buck.

sprint hills
The loose head prop for south africa was the fastest man on the field , so what I saying your not just a front row meat head your more of a wing foward and you need to have functional althletic strength. Your training like an offensive linemen. I have got the bad knees to know what I talking about.

What a great sport Rugby now all I can do is play in an ocassional old boys game and then talk about how good we were in the old days.
You know the last thing a rugby player says after a game. " Did you see me when I ____"… Good luck and keep up the Rugby
Mens league gets better because everone knows the game.

Ok, correct me if I am wrong here, but aren’t Props usually supposed to be taller ? No offense meant, just wondering.

For props, height is not nearly as important a factor as is power and stability. In fact, in some cases height can be a detriment to a prop because if he is taller than the other men on the front row it can throw the balance of the entire scrum off.

The guys who need to be taller are the locks… the longer those legs, the better! Haha.

And no offense taken at all… not being tall means I can sneak around and hit people unexpectedly >:)

[quote]t3h_Squirr3l wrote:
Ok, correct me if I am wrong here, but aren’t Props usually supposed to be taller ? No offense meant, just wondering.[/quote]

Not necessarily. 2nd row is usually the taller guys.

He is pretty small and weak for a prop (no offense you are a young guy) but you would be a wing on my old team.

Hey, i’m right with you Zap. When I play with San Antonio Mens during the summer I always play wing… however unfortunately our TCU team has a lot of speed but not a whole lot of size… my squat and deadlift are the highest on the team right now.

Ah, I see. That brings me to my next question, if you don’t mind. I’m 6’1" and 210 or so with a whole 215x5 atg squats and 255x1 for deads :(. I am working on a strength program, Madcow’s 5x5 linear periodization, as it were. I know I have to really work on my squats and deads.

I have been thinking about doing Men’s League rugby with an amatuer team. I used to play as a lineman back in the good ol’ days in high school football. I spoke to a few of my buddies who have played and they mentioned prop, 8-man or flanker (provided I can move my ass fast enough). I’m not sure where in the hell I would expect to end-up.

I rememeber my cousin being either a lock or prop and he was about 6’4" and 280-300 lbs or so. I am new to a lot of rugby terms so if someone could please explain who is a lock and who is a prop and what they do. I know they’re both in the scrum and are forwards as opposed to backs.

I know either the lock or props helps boost up someone to catch a throw-in (correct me if I’m using the wrong terms). I may or may not be getting the position names confused, but I think it’s the props that hoist up the other player.

Strength is good in rugby but if you have no indurance you will be useless. 90 minutes of running for a Rugby match plus pushing and takleing. If you are a big guy you need to run and run. Sprint walk drills and a regular jog of 3 miles a pop. I seen a lot of big strong duys wiped out after 10 minutes. Get your cardio up. Big and strong do not mean crap. Being althletic is what you need to be.
Rugby is a game of heart if you want to play get your ass out there and play. You can make excuses why its to tuff or whatever. Rugby clubs are very receptive all new players. Players are all sizes and shapes just do it.

I agree with Dsgroi that you should concentrate on cleans and snatch. I play loosehead and tighthead for a DII men’s club. I’ve found that all the strenth I need for scrummaging and tackling I can get from those two lifts. For me, they also add as much muscle to my traps and back as doing any type of press or shrug.

Everything else that I do is not for strength or power but to keep my body balanced and to make sure I have the bulk to make some hard yards when needed. Work on the clean and snatch and keep you cardio up.

Also, going to 210 and droping 3-5% bodyfat would mean putting on almost 20lbs of muscle in 4 weeks. That’s not very realistic. It’s probably best to work on putting the muscle on first then dropping weight later. Do whatever works for the way you play the game.

[quote]cwschimpff wrote:
Hey, i’m right with you Zap. When I play with San Antonio Mens during the summer I always play wing… however unfortunately our TCU team has a lot of speed but not a whole lot of size… my squat and deadlift are the highest on the team right now.[/quote]

Keep working it. Based on your body type you might want to consider hooking if you are going to play past college.

Most props I see these days probably are 50 pounds bigger than you are.

How is your conditioning? Other have touched on that but unless you get your conditioning dialed in the rest of it doesn’t matter.

The biggest I ever came into a season was ~ 215 pounds and I looked pretty good. No idea BF% but I looked good in the mirror and guys were asking me if I was on steroids. The extra weight felt good going into contact but I felt a bit slower and less fit.

Do your running. Not a slow job but some interval stuff. Do it at the pitch if you can and mix in some sled pushing, strongman whatever but run. There is no substitute.

Damn I miss playing rugby!

Thanks for the great advice guys!

I’ve changed up my plans to incorporate much more conditioning, speed, and agility type stuff and less of the traditional powerlifting type stuff. Also, kudos on the cleans, snatches, and presses. After only a few days I can already feel the difference at practices.

Whoever said that adding 10 lbs. bodyweight and dropping 3-5% bf in four weeks, yes, you’re very right. I looked at my own post later and wondered who the hell wrote that. Haha.

Also (last), somebody asked about locks/props.

Props are on the front row of the scrum, and their main job is to initiate contact with the opposing side and push push push! They also hold up the middle of the scrum, hence “prop”.

Locks are immediately behind the props. They are usually taller, preferably with long legs. They dig in and lock their legs to try and prevent the scrum from being pushed backward, among other things.

Props usually do the lifting in lineouts because they usually have the most overall strength, but also because they’re generally too freaking big to lift! Although I have seen props (ahem, New Zealand) take the place of the hooker in a lineout and throw the ball instead.

Again, thanks for all the wonderful advice guys! If anyone has any new tips, please post them here. I’m very receptive.

Ah, thanks for the clarification on that. I assume I would be a lock between both position. I have pretty damn long legs. Then again, at 210, I am kind of on the light side so maybe I will end up playing another position if I go out.

Determining your position also depends heavily on your speed and ball-handling skills. If you’re fairly fast and good with your hands and the team already has some good locks, you may well be set up with the backs.