Training for rugby

Hi everybody. I’d like to apoligize for the length of this post and also thank anybody that responds in advance. I’m a collegiate rugby player looking for some training advice for the summer. My main goals are to increase stength and speed while adding some bodyweight at the same time if possible. I do need to maintain a fairly high level of cardiovascular conditioning so whatever program I’m on is going to have to include some running. Olympic lifts are out (don’t know how to do them and don’t have access to a decent instructor or facilities to perform them in). I’m thinking of combining a westside style of training and just adding some running in. Here’s what I was thinking:

Monday: Speed bench and assistance work followed by 30 minutes of running to build endurance.

Tuesday: Speed squats and assitance followed by a sprint workout.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: ME Bench and assitance

Friday: ME squat/dl and assitance followed by stair workout.

Saturday: 30 minutes running to build endurance.

Sunday: Off

I was thinking of doing split days when I run and lift in the same day, but I'm not sure I can do it with the job I'm going to be working (full time at a law firm). If anybody has suggestions I would greatly appreciate the feedback. Sorry again for the length of the post.


-oh, almost forgot I’m 22, 215# and about 12-13% bf.

What position are you training for? I’m generally a back, though I’m playig with my secondary team as a hooker - totally different training for each spot. so let’s start there. And how is your diet? You’ll never make your goals without eating right…and by the way, who do you play for?

I’m gonna assume that you’re a back rower. Westside stuff is all pretty good. But we have our guys lean on pulling exercises. That means cutting back your bench work and adding hang cleans or top pulls. Do some snatch or clean pulls on both your lower body days as well. 20 rep pin pulls are a favourite.

Hi, Zinzan Brooke the ex All Black wrote a book a couple of years ago on rugby training. If u want I will see if I can get the title, author etc and any info that might help u, otherwise try a search engine such as google, I just ran Rugby training on it and came up with heaps of links. All the best

Burt, I’m guessing you’re somewhere in the tight 5, and by “Summer Training” I assume that you won’t be playing any games. Here’s what I’d do. Base your routine around Squat, Deadlift, Bench, Rows, Chins all your basic power movements and then if you’re gonna run, keep it to sprinting sessions of 25-30 minutes at most, you’ll have plenty of time to get you’re lungs when the season gets closer, you just can’t go for ‘endurance’ runs and expect to gain much in size or strength. I’m a 21 year old hooker at 205lb. and this is what I do, and I make obvious improvements every year, and I don’t do any running in the offseason, not even sprints, because I only focus on developing my power, and if you’re legs become more powerful you’ll be surprised how much faster you become and how much more solid a tackler you become. If this doesn’t work for you, I’ll let you kick me in the junk.

Go Hookers!!!

Thanks for all the responses guys. Here are some things that I should have put in my post initially but didn’t because I didn’t think anyone would understand them. (Didn’t know we had any rugby players on the board). I’m playing prop right now but I think that I’m going to try and convince my coach to let me play flanker next year. Not too likely as we have a significant lack of size on my current team (UCLA). So I suppose my training should be based around training for a prop. Again thanks for the info provided so far and if anyone has anything else to add please do so. Rugby’s a great sport isn’t it? :slight_smile:

Hi, the name of that Zinzan book is “Zinzan Brookes competitive edge, a guide to train for toughness + sports nutrition” by Lee Parore published by Celebrity books. Another one might be " Smart training for rugby: a complete training guide" By Alex Mckenzie, Ken Hodge, and Gordon Stewart, Reed Publishers. If u are going to stay as a prop then I would suggest basic strength movements especially focussing on legs, back and I’d do some neck specific strength (for those collapsed scrums). If u go to loose forwards then explosive short sprint work may prove handy as well. Hope that helps.

Burt, definitely focus on front row training, not that you won’t get to move to flanker, but putting on a 6 or 7 is every front rowers dream and just doesn’t come true enough to give it real consideration, sucks I know, but just take pride in being one of the 3 toughest people on your team. Oh yeah, and kick ass

Burt, I play loose forward and am about your same size. I concentrate my wokouts around the power clean #1, squat (full), bench, and push presses. Auxilary exercises include rows, chins, dips, db press, front squats, deads, close bench, rach bench. High pulls can also be substituded for PC’s. PC’s and high pulls both help TREMENDOUSLY with tackling power, rucking, and running with the ball (especially as a forward where alot of the balls are tigers). I played last year at 225, but felt a little too heavy. 210-215 is perfect for a back rower. FYI I play in Southern Cali Div 1 red division for Newport Beach’s Back Bay on possibly the best rugby pitch in the world right next to the ocean on Balboa Peninsula. Best of luck and GO YANKEE BORN RUGGERS!!!

I believe that periodization done correctly works. As long as their is an emphasis on a paticular trait or group of traits and not ingnoring of the traits you emphasized in a previous cycle. I believe in what Ian King said in that working on strength is sometimes a faster way to endurance than doing endurance work. if you start with a fairly high volume and some (limited) amount of LSD(long slow distance)this should provide an adequate base for intensifying the training. I will post more later.

Hey Guys, I was wondering what kind of lifting you guys do during the season. I train westside with cleans added in. I would like to keep my strength during the season, but I don’t want to overtrain. Any suggestions?Thanks

stiffler, you must try to think “maintenance” during the season. Try to hit the gym 2-3 times per week. Concentrate on main lifts. Season time is not the time to go for new PR’s. We practice 2 times a week, games on Sat. Our season started in Oct, so my body can only handle 2 times a week in the gym on top of playing. I have dropped some weight along with some strength, but that is expected.
Ill probaly skip summer 7’s season and concentrate on my lifting. Best regards.

Pete is exactly right, we have the same practice-game schedule and I’d say try to get your lift on at least twice a week and just work what doesn’t hurt to move, maintenance is about the best you can hope for.

We practice 3 times a week and have games on Saturday. I’ve been lifting 2-3 times a week, whenever I’m not hurting or sore. I hate thinking maintenance since I love to powerlift also, but i have been cutting back and think I have it balanced pretty well. Thanks for your input-Stiff