T Nation

Training for Rugby


Following the advice of a few people on here, I've ditched the beginners style of training and am going to aim for a more rugby specific way of training. Hopefully on the way to looking better and reaching goals along the way.

Targets by 9/4/11 (19th birthday):

-Bench 130
-Squat 170
-Deadlift 210-220

Current maxes:

Bench 115x3 (narrow miss on 120)
Squat 150x2
Deadlift 200x1


Squat 60x10, 100x8, 120x6, 130x5
Push press 60x10, 60x8, 65x5, 65x5
Close grip bench 60x10, 80x6x4, 85x5, 60x15


Chins 5,5,5,4,4
BO row 50x10, 100x5x4
Seated row '7'x10, '15'+15kg x20*
Deadlift 100x10, 120x6, 150x5x2, 170x1

*wasn't planning on doing seated for but had to wait for a bar to do deadlift. Probably the reason I only got 1 rep on 170 when going for 2 sets of 3



Push press 60x10, 65x6, 67.5x5x3, 80x3x3
close grip bench press 60x10, 70x10, 80x10, 90x6x2
Leg press 200x5x3 250x3x3
Swiss ball sit ups 2x25

5 min cool down on bike

Chose to do leg press instead of squats for the stability because my hamstring’s feeling a bit tight after training tuesday, felt it tighten up on sprints but stretched off and it seemed ok, iced and compressed as soon as I got home and rubbed deep heat cream into it and has seemed to improve.



Chins 5,5,4,4
BO row 50x10, 70x10, 80x10, 100x8, 110x5
Deadlift 100x10, 130x6, 150x5x2 180x1
Overhead squat practice with broom handle/bar

10 mins bike

Thinking about moving deadlift to the 1st exercise as I seem to be out of energy by the time I get to it and this is the 2nd time I’ve missed 3 reps with 170 and then 180.

I seem to be able to OH squat with a broom handle past parallel but as soon as I use the empty bar I cant seem to sit into the deep squat position and get only reach about 45 degrees. May post a video soon for technique check

First pre season trial game possibly on the 12th of august against a Welsh touring side which is bound to be interesting.



10 mins bike (hill mode on highest difficulty)

Shrugs 60x10, 80x10, 90x10x3
Cleans 40x5x5 60x3x3
Box jumps 5x3
Depth jumps 3x3
Snatch 30x3x3

10 mins bike hill mode again.


Well pre season seems to be getting slightly easier but still blowing every session.
It started to get interesting tonight when we used tires, racing in teams flipping and dragging across the pitch then finishing with 2 a side tug of wars.



Squats 70x10, 110x6, 130x5x2, 140x3, 140x2*, 100x12
Military press 70x4, 60x6, 60x5x4
Close grip bench (smith) 60x10, 80x6x3, 50x12
Reverse grip bench (smith) 50x6x2

*Had a wobble at the top of 2nd rep and didn’t feel confident to go for another rep.

Triceps a bit sore because I did some direct arm work for the crack when I went to play a bit of tennis at the gym

Cable rope pushdowns 3x “10” to failure pulling rope apart then 10 more with hands together
Single arm cable curls 3x10

Single arm preacher curls with twist 14 3x10
overhead extensions 14 3x10



Deadlift 110x5, 140x5x3, 160x3x2
BO row 60x10, 80x10x4
lat pull down (supinated close grip) "12"x5, "11"x5x4

20mins bike “fat burn” 130bpm


Feeling a bit beaten up after training so just did some core work at home

Plank 1min
Side plank 30s each side
Superman 15 each side
Straight leg raise 20
Bridge 20 with hold at top



Bench press (explosive) 65x15x4, 85x4
Shrugs 60x10, 60x10(behind), 80x10x5
Lateral raises 3x10 12kg
Dips 4x8
Front raises with barbell to overhead 15kg 4x10

Bent over row/shoulder press/upright row 20kgx20/20/20
same again with 35kg 10/10/10

Had a chat with an ex England International and British lions player in the gym today and he was explaining to me that it’s nearly time to forget about the big weights because after a few games your numbers will drop and to focus on power and endurance weights to better condition yourself instead of being the typical gym monkey through the season.

I will continue with what I am doing at the moment for another week to test improvements and then change to a more endurance/power based programme but incorporating heavy lifting at times.



Push press 60x6, 70x5x3, 80 fail
Squats 120x5 Felt groin pull so went down to 100 and did a 20 rep set
CGBP (smith) 50x12, 70x10x3, 80x4, 60 to failure



Chins 3x4
BO row 5x10 90kg
Glute ham raise 3x20

Had no energy because of an early morning and poor breakfast

Have not been to the gym since because of work and social commitments. Will start on a more power/endurance style program next week


How long have you been on this program? As it’s preseason, you might be better off sticking with hypertrophy til the season starts. Height, weight, position?

I’ve potentially got a few weights programs I could send you which are specifically tailored to preseason, Xmas break etc.


About 4 weeks and season starts in september but have a couple of trial games over the next couple of weeks.
6ft tall, 106kg, prop/hooker/back row but sticking with front row this year.

BO row 70x10, 90x8x3, 70x15
Bench press 60x10, 90x8, 95x8x2, 60x15
dips 3x8
lat pull down (supinated) 3x10
upright row 40x10x3, 25x20

Shoulder press 70x8, 60x8x2, 60x6, 40x15
Deadlift 70x10, 110x10, 150x8, 210xfail, 190xfail *
curls 35x8, 40x8x2, 25x15
CGBP 60x10, 80x8x2


Good job buddy, I’m a tighthead prop so I know where you’re coming from. Now is the time to really stick to a position and learn your trade in it, especially if it’s in the front row. What’s your goal in terms of a playing weight when match fit?

I’d stick with what you’re doing at the moment until the start of the season, the main reason being that you won’t see a massive increase in your strength in the next couple of weeks, and you can legitimately work on that in-season without the horrific DOMS you’d get from hypertrophy. DOMS is the last thing you want on a game day as I’m sure you know.

Lifts are looking pretty good for your age and position, especially for a part time back rower. Make sure you’re ambitious on the deadlifts and squats!

I’ve got about 8 weights programs from my university sports science department if you want them, just drop me a PM with your email and I’ll get them off to you. Some were great, some not so (especially if you’ve got bdybuilding goals too).


Yeah I’ve kind of been pushed around various positions but I’m a good front rower compared to an average back rower. Also after my first season of mens rugby I noticed I don’t really have the skill or fitness required for the back row.

In terms of playing weight around 16 and a half stone so that I still have the bulk but I’m not suffering carrying it around the park.

Those programs sound good and I agree it’s very hard to find the balance between training specially for rugby and bodybuilding/looks at the same time. You wouldn’t happen to have any nutritional info would you? I think that is one of my major faults at the moment, I’m just eating anything whenever I feel like it.


Had my first pre season game today and I’m definaetly not match fit so it’s time to up the cardio.

Played last 30 mins, 10 at 6 and 20 at hooker


5 min warm up on bike

Squats 100x3, 120x3, 130x3, 140x3, 150x2, 100x15

Shrugs 70x10, 100x10, 100x10 (front)
70x10x3 (behind body)

Good Mornings 40x15x3

Alternate Curls 18x8, 18x8, 20x6, 16x12
Tricep pushdowns '12’x10x3, '14’x10x2, '15’x6, '6’x20

2000m row 8min 30
10 min bike


Bent over row 60x10, 100x10x3, 80x15

Bench Press 70x10, 90x10, 100x8, 110x2, 70x15

Lat pull down (supinated) '6’x12, '14’x10, '16’x5, '12’x12
Done on a different station to normal, weight is slightly different


Upright row after training 3x10 45kg


Strict shoulder press 35x10, 55x10, 60x8, 70x4/ push press 75x5

Double overhand grip deadlift 100x10, 120x3, 140x3, 150x3
After watching the training lab videos and seeing the new kettlebell we have at the gym I decided to experiment by doing kettlebell swings directly after each set of deadlifts - 17x10 (each arm), 24x3x3 (each arm)

High pulls 3x5 60kg
Snatch pulls 3x3 60kg

Dips 3x10 (BW)

15 mins bike on hill mode