T Nation

Rugby Strength


#1

I know that reaching the professional rugby player's level is imposible, in terms of strength and conditioning, but what type of training would you recommend me? Maybe 531 of Wendler? or BUILT FOR BAD ?

Thanks for all, coach Christian


#2

Since I've played rugby quite a bit (Youth / U19 level most recently, also rugby league at U16s regional level) and know a couple of players who have signed with professional clubs, I'll give you my opinion.

First of all, there's no way the level of Strength and Conditioning is beyond you, especially if you're under 30. Top-level players are fit, but they're not all crazily strong or brilliant runners, they're just all at a good level across the board, with some standout performers (i.e. props would be stronger than most other players, wingers faster, etc.).

Secondly, I don't really think 5/3/1 or anything like that is going to cut it. Most teams seem to train at least twice a day at the peak of their pre-season, and then significantly less in season; cookie-cutter programs don't allow for any of this, not to mention they don't include any personalized objectives or adaptations to fit your schedule.

Now, are you actually playing? Or do you simply want to aim for that kind of overall athleticism? If you play for a team, gym training will have to fit around team practice and on-field conditioning, so that will alter some things. You need to assess your current weaknesses and abilities and decide on a path to take...

If you aren't playing and just like the idea of that kind of training, perhaps you should look at some of CT's circuit- type programs like Built for Bad, or a simple 5x3-5 with 20 mins conditioning afterwards. It really does depend on your goals.

If you want a better answer then ask a more specific question (or at least give stats). Good luck!


#3

The earlier response was a good one.

I play rugby at the men's D1 club level. I started playing at age 32 after about 10 years away from competitive sports. I can tell you the #1 thing in rugby (other than skills/ playing ability) is conditioning. You need to be able to play 2 full 40 minute halves or else you're not going to cut it. Some rugby players may look like football players, but don't be fooled - there's no such thing as a goaline running back or 3rd down pass rusher in rugby. You need to be able to play the whole game.

That said here is what I've been doing in the offseason:

1)
Bench press variation SS pull-up 5x5
Press variation SS pull-up 4x6-8
Trap/rear DELT work 5x ea
Ab work 5x

2)
Squat SS leg curl 5x5/8
Walking lunge SS RDL 5x6-8
Loaded carry (yoke or farmers walk)
Ab work

3)
Plyo push-up SS pull-up 5x
Push-press SS pull-up 5x6-8
Trap/ rear DELT work 5x ea
Ab work 5x

4)
KB swing SS goblet squat 5x5-8
Barbell lunge SS good morning 5x8
Loaded carry
Ab work 5x

Conditioning:
Everyday 1000 jump rope jumps
2x week: 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off treadmill interval sprints x 10
2x week: 3 mile run for time
1x week: game conditioning: 40 minutes of 30 second jog, 30 second sprint, 30 second rest


#4

Neither are programs designed for athletic performances. They are designed only to build muscle and strength. While they are certainly a part of athletic capacities they are not the only thing needed to become a good athlete.


#5

CT wrote an amazing football program but his methods may have changed.

http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_thibaudeau/ct_football_


#6

Yes that is a very solid program. The only thing missing is the speed & conditioning aspects. Especially since Rugby requires such a high degree of conditioning. Saturday's circuit is a decent conditioning base. But I would perform a sprint/agility session on Thursday (ideally as a separate workout) and add loaded carries (farmer's walk, prowler pushing, sled pulling, wheelbarrow walk...) on Monday ideally as a second session.


#7

This is the program

PHASE 1 - ''NEURAL REWIRING'' TOWARD A MORE EXPLOSIVE PROFILE
Duration: 4 to 6 weeks

Split:
Monday: Lower body
Tuesday: Upper body
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: Whole body
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Whole body
Sunday: OFF

MONDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION (15 minutes max)
A. Jumping onto a box in front 3-4 sets of 5 jumps
B. Jumping onto a box to your left 3-4 sets of 5 jumps
C. Jumping onto a box to your right 3-4 sets of 5 jumps
D. Jumping onto a box behind you 3-4 sets of 5 jumps

SECTION B - STRENGTH & POWER
A1. Broad jumping - 5 jumps per set
A2. Romanian deadlift - sets of 5 reps. Use 60-75% of your maximum, lift explosively, never use the same load for two sets in a row (wave up and down) perform 4 to 6 sets. 30-45 seconds between A1. and A2. and between A2 and A1.

B1. Vertical jumping - 5 jumps per set
B2. Front squat - sets of 5 reps. Use 60-75% of your maximum, lift explosively, never use the same load for two sets in a row (wave up and down) perform 4 to 6 sets. 30-45 seconds between B1. and B2. and between B2 and B1.

C1. Lunge jump (switch legs in the air) - 3 jumps per leg per set
C2. Lunges (alternate leg on every rep) - sets of 4 reps per leg. Use 60-75% of your maximum, lift explosively, never use the same load for two sets in a row (wave up and down) perform 4 to 6 sets. 30-45 seconds between C1. and C2. and between C2 and C1.

D1. Ankle jumps - 10 reps per set
D2. Standing calves raise - 6 reps per set. Use 60-75% of your maximum, lift explosively, never use the same load for two sets in a row (wave up and down) perform 4 to 6 sets. 30-45 seconds between D1. and D2. and between D2 and D1.

TUESDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION (15 minutes max)
A. Plyo push-ups hands on bench 3-4 sets of 5 projections
B. Medicine ball throwdown 3-4 sets of 5 throws
C. Medicine ball throw from chest 3-4 sets of 5 throws

SECTION B - STRENGTH & POWER
A1. Speed DB press - 5 reps per set. Use 40-50% of your max with as much speed as possible
A2. Bench press - sets of 5 reps. Use 60-75% of your maximum, lift explosively, never use the same load for two sets in a row (wave up and down) perform 4 to 6 sets. 30-45 seconds between A1. and A2. and between A2 and A1.

B1. Speed bent over DB rowing (alternate arm on each rep) - 5 reps per arm per set
B2. Bent over barbell row - sets of 5 reps. Use 60-75% of your maximum, lift explosively, never use the same load for two sets in a row (wave up and down) perform 4 to 6 sets. 30-45 seconds between B1. and B2. and between B2 and B1.

C1. Medicine ball throw from chest on incline bench - 5 throws per set
C2. Incline bench press - sets of 5. Use 60-75% of your maximum, lift explosively, never use the same load for two sets in a row (wave up and down) perform 4 to 6 sets. 30-45 seconds between C1. and C2. and between C2 and C1.

D1. Medicine ball throw overhead (push press style) - 5 throws per set
D2. Standing DB press - 5 reps per set. Use 60-75% of your maximum, lift explosively, never use the same load for two sets in a row (wave up and down) perform 4 to 6 sets. 30-45 seconds between D1. and D2. and between D2 and D1.

THURSDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION
A. Hold a pair of light DB in the starting position of a shoulder press; jump onto a box, when you land do an explosive DB shoulder press - 3-4 sets of 5 reps

B. 1-arm DB snatch - 3-4 sets of 3 reps per arm

SECTION B - STRENGTH & POWER TRAINING
A1. Top-half back squat from pins - ramp up to a max force set of 3 reps
A2. Vertical jump - 5 jumps per set. 30-45 seconds between exercises.

B1. Top-half deadlift (just above knees) from pins - ramp up tp a max force set of 3 reps
B2. Broad jump - 5 jumps per set

C1. Top-half incline bench press from pins - ramp up tp a max force set of 3 reps
C2. Plyo push-ups hand on bench - 5 projections per set

D. Chin-ups (or fatman pull-ups if not strong enough) - 3-4 sets pf max reps

SATURDAY

SECTION A - POWER CIRCUIT
A1. Jump onto a box in front - 5 reps
A2. Plyo-push up hands on bench - 5 reps
A3. Speed back squat - 3 reps at 40-50%
A4. Push press - 3 reps at 60-70%
A5. Fatman pull-up - 5 reps with max speed

  • Rest a maximum of 25 seconds between stations.
  • Perform anywhere from 6 to 12 circuit... stop when speed and explosiveness starts to degrade
  • If one exercise becomes slower but the others are fine, drop the exercise that is slowing down and keep performing the others.

PHASE II - STRENGTH AND SIZE FOCUS I
DURATION: 4 to 6 weeks

TRAINING SPLIT:
Monday: Squat & quads
Tuesday: Vertical push & pull
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: Deadlift & hips
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Horizontal push & pull
Sunday: OFF

MONDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION
A. Jump onto a box in front - 3-4 sets of 5 jumps
B. Jump squat (20% body weight) - 3-4 sets of 5 jumps

SECTION B - SIZE & STRENGTH
A. Front squat - sets of 5 reps - start at roughly 50-60% and ramp up to max force point for 5 reps

B. Back squat - sets of 5 reps - ramping, start where you ended the front front squat and work up to max force for 5 reps

C. Top half back squat (slightly above 90 degrees)- ramping, start where you ended the full back squat and ramp up to max force for 5

D. Back squat - 1 set of max reps with 80% of the top weight you reached on the full back squat

TUESDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION
A. Medicine ball toss overhead (push press fashion) - 3-4 sets of 5 throws
B. Medicine ball slam - 3-4 sets of 5 throws

SECTION B - STRENGTH & SIZE
A. Standing military press - sets of 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and ramp up to max force point for 5 reps

B. Push press - ramping, start where you ended the military press and ramp up to max force for 5 reps

C. Incline bench press - 3 sets of max reps with what you ended up with on the push press

*IMPORTANT: After every set of exercises A, B and C perform a set of pull-ups... perform about 2/3 of the number of your max reps (e.g. if you can do 10 pull-ups do sets of roughly 6 reps)

D1. Preacher curl - 3-4 sets of 6 reps

D2. Seated overhead DB triceps extension - 3-4 sets of 6 reps (superset D1 and D2)

THURSDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION
A. Broad jumps - 3-4 sets of 5 jumps
B. 1-arm DB snatch - ramping sets of 3 reps per arm

SECTION B - STRENGTH & SIZE

A. Power high pull (lift bar up to sternum) - sets of 3 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to max force for 3 reps

B. Power low pull (light bar up to belly button) - ramping, start where the high pull ended, work up to the max force set for 3 reps

C. Deadlift - ramping, start where the low pull ended and work up to the max force set for 3 reps

D. Top half deadlift in rack (just above knees) - start where the deadlift ended and work up to the max force set for 3 reps

SATURDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION
A. Plyo push-up - 3-4 sets of 5 reps
B. Medicine ball throw from chest - 3-4 sets of 5 reps

SECTION B - STRENGTH & SIZE

A. Close-grip bench press - sets of 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% work up to max force set for 5 reps

B. Bench press - sets of 5 reps, start where you ended the close-grip bench and work up to max force set for 5 reps

C. Top half bench press in rack (6-8" from chest) - start where you ended the bench work up to max force set for 5 reps

IMPORTANT: After *every set of execises A, B and C perform one set of 5 reps on any horizontal rowing movement

D1. Standing DB hammer curl - 3-4 sets of 6 reps
D2. Lying DB triceps extension - 3-4 sets of 6 reps (superset D1 and D2)
PHASE III - STRENGTH AND SIZE FOCUS II
DURATION: 4 to 6 weeks

Training split:
Monday: 1 whole-body lift + Vertical push/pull
Tuesday: Lower body
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: 1 whole-body lift + horizontal push/pull
Friday: Arms
Saturday: Power circuit
Sunday: OFF

MONDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION
A1. Depth jumps - 3-4 sets of 5 reps
A2. Plyo push-up - 3-4 sets of 5 reps
A3. Medicine ball slam - 3-4 sets of 5 reps

SECTION B - STRENGTH & SIZE
A. Power clean & push press - sets of 3 reps, start with roughly 50-60% and ramp up to max force set for 3 reps

B1. Standing DB shoulder press - 4-6 sets of 5 reps

B2. Chin-up parallel grip - 4-6 sets of 5 reps (add weight if needed)... 30-45 sec. of rest between both exercises

C1. Incline bench press - 4-6 sets of 5 reps

C2. Chin-up pronated grip - 4-6 sets of 5 reps (add weight if needed) ... 30-45 sec. of rest between both exercises

D1. Dips (no weight) - 4 sets, stop 2 reps short of failure

D2. Chin-up supinated grip (no weight) - 4 sets, stop 2 reps short of failure

TUESDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION
A. Jump on to a box in front - 3-4 sets of 5 reps
B. Jump on to a box behind you - 3-4 sets of 5 reps
C. Broad jump - 3-4 sets of 5 reps

SECTION B - STRENGTH & SIZE
A. Sumo deadlift - 3 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and ramp up to max force set for 3 reps

B. Front squat - 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and ramp up to max force set for 3 reps

C. Bulgarian split squat (no weight) - 3 sets, stop 2 reps short of failure

D. Glute-ham raise (back hyperextension if you don't have GHR) - 3 sets, stop 2 reps short of failure

THURSDAY

SECTION A - ACTIVATION
A. Medicine ball throw from chest - 3-4 sets of 5 reps
B. Speed 1-arm row - 3-4 sets of as many reps as you can in 15 seconds

SECTION B - STRENGTH & SIZE
A. Power snatch from the hang - 3 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to max force set for 3 reps

B1. Bench press - 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to a max force set for 5 reps

B2. Bent-over barbell rowing - 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to a max force set for 5 reps. 30-45 seconds between both exercises

C1. Push-ups - 3 sets, stop 2 reps short of failure

C2. Fatman pull-up - 3 sets, stop 2 reps short of failure

FRIDAY

SECTION A - STRENGTH & SIZE

A1. Top half close-grip bench press - 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to max force set for 5 reps

A2. Preacher curl - 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to a max force set for 5 reps. 30-45 seconds between both exercises

B1. Lying DB triceps extension - 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to a max force set for 5 reps.

B2. Standing DB hammer curl - 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to a max force set for 5 reps. 30-45 seconds between both exercises

C1. Overhead DB triceps extension (one DB for both hands) - 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to a max force set for 5 reps.

C2. Standing reverse-grip EZ bar curl - 5 reps, start at roughly 50-60% and work up to a max force set for 5 reps. 30-45 seconds between both exercises

SATURDAY

SECTION A - POWER CIRCUIT
A1. Power clean (70-75%) 3 reps
A2. Speed bench press (40-50%) 5 reps
A3. Jump squat (20% bodyweight) 5 reps
A4. Medicine ball slam 5 reps

  • Perform circuit 9-12 times... drop an exercise if it stops being explosive... 15-30 seconds between exercises.

PHASE IV- POWER
DURATION: 4 to 6 weeks

Training split:
Monday: Lower body I
Tuesday: Upper body I
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: Lower body II
Friday: OFF
Saturday: Upper body II
Sunday: OFF

MONDAY

A1. Jump on to a box in front - 5-7 sets of 5 reps

A2. Depth jumps for height (jump straight up)- 5-7 sets of 5 reps

A3. Jump squat (25% of bodyweight) - 5-7 sets of 5 reps

A4. Power clean from hang - 5-7 sets of 3 reps

A5. Front squat - 5-7 sets of 3 reps

  • Perform as a circuit with 60-75 seconds between stations

TUESDAY

A1. Medicine ball throw from chest - 5-7 sets of 5 reps

A2. Plyo push up hands on bench - 5-7 sets of 5 reps

A3. Speed bench press (50%) - 5-7 sets of 5 reps

A4. Push press - 5-7 sets of 3 reps

A5. Bench press - 5-7 sets of 3 reps

  • Perform as a circuit with 60-75 seconds between station

THURSDAY

A1. Broad jumps - 5-7 sets of 5 reps

A2. Depth jumps for distance (jump forward) - 5-7 sets of 5 reps

A3. Jump goodmorning (15% bodyweight)- 5-7 sets of 5 reps

A4. Power snatch from hang - 5-7 sets of 3 reps

A5. Deadlift - 5-7 sets of 3 reps

  • Perform as a circuit with 60-75 seconds between station

SATURDAY

A. Bent over barbell rowing - sets of 3 reps, start at 50-60% and ramp up to max force set for 3

B. Chin-up supinated grip - 4 sets of max reps

C. Barbell shrugs - sets of 5 reps, start at 50-60% and ramp up to max force set for 5

D. Bent over lateral raise - 3-5 sets of 8 reps