Off Season Strength Training for Club Rugby

Ashley Jones

Strength Conditioning Coach
Forget the complicated spilt training programs, forget the long workouts, you need a program that will get you stronger and will probably get you faster as a by product and you are not a professional so you only want to train 2 or 3 times a week. You can even do this in a home/garage gym if you set it up correctly and organize a few of your mates to help out.

Quite simply you use the exercises that deliver the most effect for your time, these are all compound large muscle group exercises, the program can be used year round to good effect, both off season(3 sessions per week) and in season (2 sessions per week). If you are not familiar with these movements find someone to teach/coach you initially, get the technique correct from the very first session and always maintain the technique before loading, if you have to alter the technique to lift the load the load is too heavy for you currently.

The program is just three (3) exercises each training day plus a core movement at completion or start it is up to you. The movements fall into one of three categories, Pull, Push and Squat\

Training Options             Pull                         Push                      Squat
1                                   Power Clean             Split Jerk                Front Squat
2                                  Power Snatch          Push Press               Back Squat
3                                     Deadlift                Bench Press          Sprinters Squat
4                                   Clean Pulls            Incline Bench        Overhead Squat
5                                  Snatch Pulls           Military Press             Split Squat

You can rotate through this list of training options so that it takes 5 workouts to complete the list, so on a three(3) day a week program you would do the following:

Week 1: Monday – Option 1, Wednesday – Option 2, Friday – Option 3 then the following week;
Week 2: Monday – Option 4, Wednesday – Option 5, Friday – Option 1.

Continuing through for the duration of your off season plan then when your season commences select a different workout and perform on a Monday and a Thursday throughout the season. As for the core training I prefer to work full body as well and like the approach of Pavel when he advises to select 3 – 5 exercises and perform 3 – 5 sets of 3 – 5 reps for 3 – 5 sessions per week, follow this and you can not go wrong.

As for sets and reps I would advise the following structure for you to follow for off season and in season, initially though, for the first month, do 4 sets x 6 reps, adding weight when you have completed all sets and reps in good technique, do not add weight if you lose your technique. A good rule to follow is that if you can complete the same workout twice with the same load and have no technique break downs then add 5% to the bar for the next workout. After the first month I would have you follow the plan outlined below.

Off Season
Weeks     Sets x Reps
1                4 x 6
2                2 x 5 then 3 x 3
3                5,4,3,2,1 Then calculate 80% of your weight for the 1 rep you achieved on the last set of week 3 and use this as your start weight for the sets of 6 for the re-start of the program in week 1.

In Season
Weeks     Sets x Reps
1                 6,5,4
2                 5,4,3
3                 4,3,2

As for core strength program, these are the movements I recommend;

Masoe Full Body Sit Ups
Full Body Twist
Barbell Rollouts
Side Dead Lift with Olympic Bar
Turkish Get Ups

I will go into detail with these in a later post on this web site, till then train hard but train smart. Keep checking in at Articles.

Cheers, Ashley Jones

Ashley Jones

Ashley Jones specialist in the physical preparation of rugby athletes. He has worked with professional sports teams that include Sydney Kings, Newcastle Knights, Parramatta Eels, Northern Eagles, Crusaders, New Zealand All Blacks, and Australian Wallabies. Irish by Ancestry, Australian by Birth, Japanese by Accident and a Kiwi by Choice.

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