Ashley Jones Q&A Archives Page 15

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    Hi Ashley

    First off, I would like to say that your website is extremely informative, and I have enjoyed reading through your vast supply of information regarding rugby and training.

    I’m just 17 years old, living in Canada and trying to make my way as a Rugby player. My ultimate goal is to play professionally but I am an extremely long way away from ever getting their. Right now I am trying to break out into the National scene by playing in the National Championships this August. I play Loosehead Prop and I stand 6’3(191cm) and 102kg, quite small for a Prop at my height. I have been struggling to gain lean mass, since last year I have put on 5kg but not all of it was muscle. I have focused alot on Hypertrophy training, and much less on Maximal Strength and Power training, i’ve always been taught to use a linear periodization method of weight training and so far my gains have been minimal.

    I really need some direction in the gym, I am already playing in one of the top Senior Mens Amateur Leagues, and I believe this to be quite an accomplishment at my age, so I do not feel that my skill of the game is what has kept me out of the Elite player pathway thus far. I’ve always stuck with compound lifts in my training. Bench Press’, Squats, and Deadlifts are always the bulk of my routine.

    My diet is what one would expect for a teenage boy, but I do keep fast-food to a minimum, once every couple of weeks. I try to eat 1.5-2 x my bodyweight (in pounds) of protein daily, but my protein doesn’t always come from the cleanest sources so I get a reasonably amount of fat in there too.

    Any knowledge you may be wiling to impart to me is greatly appreciated.


    Hi Craig, thanks for your kind words I hope I can assist you with some programs, let me assure you first that size will come with the maturation process so do not be in too big a hurry as with your height it may take a few years to reach your optimal size, say between 115 and 120 kilogram, but with these new rule changes being trialled at present prop mobility and good scrummaging technique will be essential for survival in the modern professional game.

    That being said I would probably have you follow a program very similar to the WestSide approach, when you see the powerlifting supermen that they turn out it looks like a prop forward assembly line. I would ensure that you include lots neck work as well, as well as doing some wrestling and or judo as an adjunct to your training. This may sound quite radical but I would follow this for the off season program and then do an Olympic lifting style program for the season as a power focus as well.

    There are some very interesting articles on both and that will provide a wealth of information, one great article is westside for olympic lifters written by Louie Simmons, so read through those and if you have any questions please send them in, these programs are ones we have used at the Crusaders so hope you can make some great gains on them as well.

    Cheers Craig and all the best, ash

    Full answer including sample programs can be found in article section of website.

    G’Day Ash,
    I’m a first year trainer for a provincial rugby union team. The club has only 2 senior teams and trains 2 nights a week, one night for fitness and the other night is set aside for skill based training. The guys do their own gym strength training and i only have the guys for 60-90mins one night a week. I have used some of the exercises and ideas from your articles which have been successful (especially the conditioning games & sprints).

    I was just wondering if you could help me with some ideas for this one training session a week. A lot of guys don’t do much if any strength training and not much fitness on the side during the week. I would like some of your thoughts on making my sessions more efficient and effective for the little time i have with them.

    I know this is a bit of a tough one, but i would appreciate any help you can offer.

    Thanx for reading my email, hope to hear back from you…

    Hi Phil and thanks for your question, in 1 session a week you could either prioritise your team areas and work from highest to lowest over the course of the time you have or you could follow a more overall program and attempt to optimise as much as you can, my suggestions would be to follow a neural to metabolic approach, where you train activities of the highest neural demand first in the workout and progress to more aerobic and less neural activities over the course of the 90 minutes. So a plan could be:

    General movement warm up 10 minutes: all the movement drills you can us from sprint training, include some ladder patterns as well and gradually build into acceleration work, add a game such as predator and prey to get them really warm or a 10 pass competition between backs and forwards

    Speed work 20 – 30 minutes: as per some of my work on using partners to provide resistance, also forwards can be powering through pads and giving an offload behind or in front of the line, include some speed games like rats and rabbits

    Anaerobic games 20 minutes: choose any of the ones you have, work hard on these as they will provide all the elements you want, such as decision making, peripheral vision, anaerobic endurance.

    Strongman Activities 15 minutes: Wrestling drills, relays using fireman’s carry, baby carry, wheelbarrow races, anything where you have to lift a partner carry him, then wrestle for 60 seconds make it continuous

    Anaerobic running intervals 15 minutes: I am sure you have a range of these you can pull out, keep them high intensity with short rests

    Static Stretch and cool down 10 – 15 minutes

    Hiope this provides a bit of a template for you, cheers., ash
    Hello Ashley

    I am currently studying Human movement at university and i hace to write an 8 week resistance training program. I am using rugby as an example. I am just wondering if yuou would have an example of a program that i could have a look at. I basicallly have to write the program and justify why i am doing what i am doing. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards

    Hi Janny, thanks for your question, I remember those assignments, the reality of programming for strength in rugby is that most of the programs do not follow the periodisation structures taught at University, they follow a more conjugate method where everything is trained at once but some aspects are prioritized based on specific needs, we will change our exercises every 2 – 3 weeks to ensure the players are neurally fresh and not just going through the motions on some lifts, we do have some basic lifts we perform regularly but we have many variations for these lifts. Hope this is of some help, I am happy to take a look at what you have put together before you submit it, cheers, ash

    We tend to be specific in our programming and will divide players into 3 groups and often even 5 groups

    Hypertrophy Upper Body Group (6 exercises)

    3 x Upper Body Push & Pull

    Training Options

    A day of each of the following through out the week, say Mon/Wed/Fri or in one workout where you start with 5 x 6 – 8 and progess through each exercise pairing down to 3 x 12 – 15

    5 x 6 – 8 reps

    Double Rest Pause- do a 4-6RM then rest for 10 – 15 secs and do as many more as you can, then rest again 10 – 15 secs and finish with as many as you can

    Clusters – a set of 6 reps resting 10 – 15 secs between each rep, allows you to use a much higher percentage of max than by performing a set of 6 continuous

    Super Sets – antagonistic muscle groups performed with a short rest in between exercises eg; bench press s/s with bent over row

    4 x 8 – 12 reps

    Rest Pause – do a 4-6RM then rest for 10 – 15 secs and do as many more as you can

    Drop Sets – perform a set to concentric failure take 10 – 15 % weight off the bar and continue to concentric failure again, continue in this fashion until you have perform 8 – 12 reps

    Super Sets

    3 x 12 – 15 reps

    Giant/Tri/Super Sets – Agonistic exercises performed back to back with minimal rest between each exercise eg; 3 way shoulder raise – DB lateral raises, weight plate front raise cable bent over raises


    Full Body Strength (5 exercises)

    1 x Olympic

    1 x Squat

    1 x Hamstring/Lower Back

    1 x Upper Body Push

    1 X Upper Body Pull

    Upper Body Strength (4 exercises)

    1 x Horizontal Upper Body Push/Pull

    1 x Vertical Upper Body Push/Pull

    Lower Body Strength (4 exercises)

    1 x Olympic

    1 x Squat

    1 x Hamstring/Lower Back

    1 X Unilateral Lower Body

    Training Options

    Double Rest Pause


    Contrast Jumps – knees to feet, seated to box, repeat long jumps, repeat hurdle jumps, jump to box, depth jumps

    Tri weekly periodised

    – 6,5,4

    – 5,4,3

    – 4,3,2


    Power Lower Body (3 exercises)

    1 x Olympic

    1 x Squat

    1 x Hamstring/Lower Back

    Full Body Power (5 exercsies)

    1 x Olympic

    1 x Squat

    1 x Hamstring/Lower Back

    1 x Upper Body Push

    1 X Upper Body Pull

    Training Options

    Contrast Jumps – knees to feet, seated to box, repeat long jumps, repeat hurdle jumps, jump to box, depth jumps

    Circuit Style


    Alternate 3 x 5 @ 40 – 60% max (inter muscular co-ordination) with 5 x 3 @ 80% max (intra muscular co-ordination)


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