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RugbyStrength Training Advice?

ok, I’ve got this mate whos in the national sides under 18 team for rugby and hes looking to improve the physical side of his game during summer.

His goals are to lose some fat (probably around 20% bf now) and gain strength as well as speed and some endurance to a lesser extent.

he’s 6’1, weights 220lbs and plays number 8.

he can workout basically everyday since schools over now

so basically im asking if you guys can advise on a program and diet for him to follow?


well if hes looking to get faster he should build stronger legs, squats and dead lifts help with that, if hes looking for explosive power, train in that rep range (1-4) as fast as you can with decent form, if he wants to have more stamina, try HIIT training and some LSD cardio mixed up together

also plyometrics really help with foot speed and lateral movement and burst power etc

If he weighs 220 pounds, at his position, he doesn’t want to lose any weight. He may want to be leaner, but no 200 pound or 190 pound No.8 is going to make any ground from the scrum base or break many tackles.

Some ideas for training: look up Joe DeFranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards. This is an excellent program for athletes in a sport like rugby.

Run, but not too much. Sprints/intervals are ideal.

A number 8 should have the full range of skills these days. This includes a variety of passes, and the ability to kick in general play. Practice. He should also be able to read play well as he is the ultimate free spirit on the field. Watch videos.

If he wants to get leaner and also gain some muscle, his diet will have to be dialled in. Look up John Berardi’s work on diet in particular.

I have played No.8 for many years and am involved in coaching. There’s my 2c.

Do not do LSD cardio for rugby, it isn’t specific at all. Endurance in the off-season is better built with circuits and sprint intervals.

At this time of year keep contact to a minimum, hit weights 3-4 times a week, SAQ drills 2-3 times and endurance 1-2.

Weights would be best done with free weight compound exercises in a full body routine or upper/ lower split and trained explosively.

Off season is also a great time to practice skills, so chuck a ball around every day as well.

yeah, thanks for the great advice guys especially you deanosumo, if your a coach in japan you may be familiar with the Hong Kong under 18’s.
I know Berardi’s great but can you guy suggest any actual diet plans here on T-Nation?

two programs come to my mind: westside for skinny bastards and the 5x5

www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1 here’s the 5x5 link

[quote]skinnybarstard wrote:
I know Berardi’s great but can you guy suggest any actual diet plans here on T-Nation?

If you read through his “Tailor-made” series it outlines it fairly well. If your friend wants to spend a bit of money he could buy the Percision Nutrition program.

I just personally use the articles and then modified it to my goals and what I’m capable of maintaining. Most of my meals are basically

  • a lean protein source (lean beef, fish, chicken, or eggs)
  • veggies (I find frozen the most convenient most of the time)
    -spread some olive oil over the veggies.

Quick meal/snack
-almonds and/or walnuts (if it’s walnuts I mix in dried fruit since I don’t like the taste of just walnuts alone)
-some fruit and/or veggies


  • protein shake with fruit or veggies on the side

Generally you should see results with this type of eating plan provided you maintain it consistently. Berardi recommends 90% adhearance for optimal results (ie. ~4 cheat meals per week). Depending on how your friend responds he could adjust it accordingly.

The trick to remaining consistant, regardless of eating habits, is planning. Tell him to buy a bunch of those disposable rubber containers. I use Glad, I’m yet to throw one out after 6 months. They are cheap and microwavable. He should prepare a bunch of meals at a time then refrigerate. I like to make up chili and then freeze it.

I’ve obviously left out pre and post workout above.

If your friend follows deanosumo’s advice, JB’s style eating plan and limits the nights out partying, he should really see some progress.

Here’s the link to Part 3 of the article series, it has links to 1 & 2



7 habits outlines the guidelines

Best of luck