T Nation

The Trainings of a College Rugby Player


Haven't been posting my training for a while, so I figured I would start up a new log to seperate this from the old stuff.

For you that don't know, I play rugby at the University of South Carolina. My posistion is flanker or 2nd row, all just depending on depth/injuries/etc.

Last season we were the runners up in our conference (all the SEC teams) and qualified for the national sweet 16, where unfortunetly we lost in the first round.

Last season I was a starter on the B side (we always have 2 sides, sometimes 3), and my goal is to make it to the A side this coming fall.

I'm using the WS4SB program for my training, and also playing touch on Tuesdays to keep up the rugby specific skills.


Monday - Max Effort Upper and Speed Training

10 total sprints, 20m x4 and 40m x6

Bench- Worked up to 205x5 PR
DB Incline- 35's x16,13
Lat Pulls/Face Pulls- 3x12 on each
Weighted Situps- 3x10-12 holding a 10lb plate

Today was my first training day using the new WS4SB set up, and so far I'm liking it. I did my speed work before lifting just because the weather outside looked pretty bad so I wanted to get it done before the fields got wet. Lifting went well and I was happy to start the new training off with a PR.


How are you liking WSFSB? I have been using a version of Westside created by D1 in Memphis and I love it. I am working to get in shape for Rugby myself and I tweaked the westside template to include strongman lifts. I have read from a lot of coaches in Rugby that strongman carries over well not just from a strength and conditioning point of view, but that it requires a similar sort of toughness and testicular fortitude. Have you heard this or experienced it playing at the collegiate Rugby level?


I'm enjoying it. I've run the program a little bit in the past (maybe a couple months), so it'll be interesting to see how it works out in the long run.

As far as strongman training goes, I don't have any personal experience with it, just because of a lack of equipment. I would love to implement strongman training into my program (Like in WS4SB part 2) but I simply don't have access to any of it.

So while I don't have any experience with it, from a theoretical point of view, I think you're absolutely right. Strongman stuff is heavy, a bit awkward, and unforgiving. So are basically all heavy contact sports. I can't see how it wouldn't carry over.

I've kinda always thought that for athletes, they should work with a variety of implements because of those reasons. Like I said, I have to make due with what I've got access to, so I typically use barbells for my main lifts (so my max effort stuff) and then use other stuff for my assistance work (Db's, bodyweight, etc)

BTW, thanks for posting


I'll be following. You've been a very helpful member of the forums for a while now.

Any reason you stop running 5/3/1?


I just needed a change. I had been doing 5/3/1 for almost 3 years and it was getting painfully boring


I've got my own Rugby training log, since you've been playing and training a lot longer than I have I would really appreciate your opinions/criticisms



Tuesday- 7's Practice

Played touch with the local men's team for 2 hours. This practice is supposed to be just us vollege guys, but we only had 3 guys show up so we worked in with the Columbia men's team.

It was pretty fun, especially since the 3 of us were a bit better then the club players, despite all 3 of us being forwards


Thursday- ME Lower and conditioning

Box squats- up to 245x5 (PR)
Single leg squats- 2x10-12 holding 20lbs db's
Back raises- 3x10-15
Abs- leg raises, side bends, med ball twists 2x10-20 for each as a circuit

60m sprints x6

I realized after today's training that there is no way I'm going to be able to do the regular ws4sb template with all the conditioning I do. My legs were dead tired and I had to stop my sprints.

I attribute this to me being dumb. Going forward I'll be using the "speed and strength" template.


Friday- Rep Upper and conditioning

Db Incline- 45's x20,13,12
Rope pushdowns- 3x12
Cable rows/db shrugs- 4x12 on each
Decline situps- 3x15

60m sprints x16

Today's training went very well, I wasn't expecting to get 20 reps with the 45's. My reps dropped off pretty quickly, but I'm confident that will improve. Conditioning went well despite my legs being pretty sore


Sunday- Max Effort Upper and Speed Work

Bench- up to 225x3 PR
DB incline- 50's x17,10
Cable row/rear laterals- 3x12 of each
Leg Raises- 3x8-15

20m sprints x4, 40m sprints x4

Good training session today, I got a huge PR on the bench, and my speed work felt a lot more "natural" than last week


Tuesday- Max Lower and 7's

Box jumps- 3x5
Box squat- up to 255x5 PR
Back raises- 3x10
Pulldown abs- 3x15

7's- thunderstorm and flash flood warning, so no 7's

Ended up being a pretty damn good training session today. After a 2 hour nap I felt really out of it, just kind of in zombie mode, especially during the box squats, but luckily I was able to get it together enough to still hit a PR. The pulldown abs is
something new I tried, and I couldn't really feel my abs working that much, but they are pretty sore now (it's wednesday as I write this) so it must have worked.


Wednesday- Rep Upper and Conditioning

Db Incline- 45's x20,15,13 PR
Lateral/rear raises- 3x10 on each
Cable rows/db shrugs- 3x12 on each
Decline situps- 3x15

100m sprints x14 PR

Great training session today, got more reps on DB incline and more sprints than last time. I'm really happy with the sprinting, especially since it was the day after my lower body day. It was humid and muggy as hell as well


Monday- Max Upper and Speed Work

Incline Bench- up to 175x5 *starting point for PRs
Pushups- 2x17,13
Lat Pulldowns/DB cleans- 3x12 each

20m sprints x4, 40m sprints x4

I've been out of commision since thursday due to having surgery to remove all 4 wisdom teeth, and I'm still recovering so I didn't push myself as hard as normal today. It felt really good to get in some work though, and I was pleased with how I did, especially because I've barely been eating since the surgery.


Wednesday- Max Lower and Conditioning

Seated Jumps- 5x3, working up til I was barely getting it
Trap Bar DL- worked up to 315x5
DB Rdls- 50's for 3x10
Ab Circuit- 2 sets through

Conditioning- None, was pretty beat already

Lifting went pretty well. I had a goal of hitting 315x5 on the Trap Bar today and it wasn't too bad. I stopped there because I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things after my surgery and didn't want to kill myself. Speaking of which, I was worn out by the time I finished lifting. Like I said I'm still getting back to normal after the surgery and barely moving/eating for 5 days. I think I also may have overdone it on the jumps so I may reduce the volume there.

I'm doing my Rep Upper day tomorrow morning as well as conditioning so I can get all my training in before I go home for the July 4th weekend.


Thursday- Rep Upper and Conditioning

Db floor press- 50'sx17,11,10
Plate raises- 3x10-15
Seated rows/Band pull aparts- 4x10-15 on each
Curls/Db extensions- 3x15 each

Conditioning- Run 1 lap (fast), walk 1/2 lap x7

Decent training today, I think I'm going to drop the Db floor press from the rotation. I only really felt it in the triceps near the elbow and it seems like it was basically more of an isolation movement.

I had to run inside because of the weather, so I hit the indoor track. 1 lap is 1/7 of a mile, so I covered about a mile and a half total


Monday- Max Effort Upper and Conditioning


Incline- worked up to 190x3 PR!
Db Bench (palms in)- 50's x16,12
Chest supported rows/Face pulls- 4x10-15 each
Leg raises- 3x10-15


120m sprints x12, walk back recovery

Great training today. The last set on Incline was truely a "max effort" set. I don't think I could've gotten 1 more pound on the last rep. Conditioning was good too, the sprints were exhausting, especially because of how long they were, but the walk back was just enough time for me to catch my breath enough to go again.

For my conditioning from now on, I'm using workouts from a player manuel that USA rugby hands out (or at least used to at some point) to high school and college players that were selected to some kind of all star game. It was a pretty interesting read, they've got a strength program, conditioning stuff, and diet advice. Funny enough, the strength program was WS4SB with some tweaks to it.


Wednesday- Max Effort Lower and Conditioning

Seated box jumps- 4x5,3,3,3
Trap bar dl- up to 325x5 (10 lb PR)
Cable pull-throughs- 3x15
An circuit- 2 sets through

Sprint the straights, walk the turns x20 mins

Today was the first day that my roommate and I started training together. We've trained together a couple times in the past, but we both made the commitment to train together and push each other for the rest of the summer. It works pretty well because I'm a bit stronger than him and he's in better shape then me.

For the actual training, it was excellent. 10 lb PR on the trap bar and the conditioning was brutal. This was done on a standard track, so each sprint and walk is 100 meters. We didn't count the total laps we did, but it was probably about 6 or 7 total.


Friday- Rep Upper and Conditioning

Weighted Pushups- 25lb plate x17,13,14
Lat Pulldowns/Rear Laterals- 3x10-15 on each
Db Shoulder Press- 35's for 3x10-15
Shrugs/Curls- 2x15 on each

Weighted Sled Drags- 40m x15

Pretty fun training session today. I've never done weighted pushups before this so I didn't really know what to expect. What my training partner and I did was put the plate on our back and do reps until it started to grind, then took the plate off and kept going. I just counted the total reps, but probly the last 5-6 were unweighted.

I was surprised at how well I did because I almost never do pushups, and my training partner is in the army, so of course he does approximately 24 billion pushups per week. He started off really strong but his reps dropped off a lot quicker than mine. My guess is the extra weight was more difficult for him since he's a lot lighter than me.

The sled drags were something new as well. I've pushed a sled for conditioning about 3-4 times before, but never pulled one. My partner had exactly zero experience with sleds whatsoever. We started out with and extra 44 lbs on the sled, but after a few pulls we tried it with just 22 lbs (these were 10 kilo plates) and found that to be a lot better, basically because we could run instead of a jog with the weight.

We moved pretty quickly with the pulls, only resting a few seconds after the other guy finished before the next guy started. We will be keeping these for conditioning in the future


Monday- Max Upper and Conditioning

"Board" Press- up to 225x3
Db Incline- 35's for 3x10-15
Chest Supported Rows/Db Cleans- 3x10-15 on each
Decline Situps- 3x10-15

100m sprints x15

Good training session today, as normal. I put "Board" in parenthesis because I wanted to do a board press, but I don't have any boards. I searched around my place and couldn't find a phone book or any book thick enough, so I tried it with one of those pads that people use to squat when they have no yoke. It was pretty much a failure. The thing compressed so much once I got to heavy (for me) weight that it was essentially a bench press. Next week if I can't find a phonebook or something I'll just do a floor press.

Conditioning went well, I think I'm getting better at controlling my speed so I'm going fast, but not so fast that I kill myself halfway through the session. Either that or I'm getting in shape.

On another note, I'm weighing in at 211 now. That's down from 220 at the beginning of the summer. This is just because I cleaned up my diet a bit, not eating as much junk. Still some junk, just not as much.

Also, does anyone know how I can make something underlined when I post it in my log?