Top rugby players follow this upper body workout for strength and size 3 years ago

Top rugby players follow this upper body workout for strength and size

Rugby is unique in the way it demands equal levels of strength and endurance

Lung-busting runs up field are one thing, fending off a 20-stone prop as you drive to the try line another. Building muscle and endurance is a similarly tough task, but one that top players have cracked.


These two physical adaptations need to be trained with the correct exercises to ensure a balance is created. Together, Saracens players George Kruis and Dominic Day put together this upper body workout for muscle gain and endurance.

Bench Press

  • The daddy of all pressing exercises, the bench builds your pecs, triceps and shoulders
  • This comes in handy on the pitch when you're looking to barge your way over the tryline
  • Press the bar in an upwards curve motion, contracting your pecs at the top of the movement
  • Slowly lower to the beginning, with a slight flare in your elbows

Prone Barbell Pull

  • Due to the stability it provides, a strong back is actually as important for building your bench press as the chest
  • The prone pull/row is the best way of going about this
  • Row the bar into your chest area and contract your lats at the top portion of the movement
  • This doesn't just build your lats - it recruits all muscles in the back, including the traps and rhomboids

Neck Holds with Band Pull-Aparts

  • This unconventional-looking move is demonstrated here by Day
  • It provides stimulation for all the muscles involved in keeping your neck strong, which is vital in rugby for protecting against injury
  • Resistance band pull-aparts build your rear delts and help keep your shoulders healthy

Side Plank Holds


  • The standard plank hammers your abs - the side variation does too, but also works the obliques
  • Don't allow your body to drop from its straightened position, this recruits the maximum amount of abdominal muscle

Landmine Press

  • Your shoulders are the fulcrum for upper body strength, and the landmine press builds both functional strength and muscle size
  • Ensure the barbell is wedged safely in the corner of a room or using a Rogue attachment
  • Keep your abs tight and press the weight vertically above your head

Med Ball Press-Ups

  • The tricep muscle consists of three heads
  • Studies show the diamond press-up actually recruits the most of this tricep muscle
  • You can ramp up the tension even further by performing these on a medicine ball

All of these lifts should be performed for three to four sets of 8-12 reps.

Kruis and Day have started their own CBD oil range, Four Five CBD.

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