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Fitness & Health

14th Mar 2019

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. This upper body workout contains all the best exercises

Alex Roberts

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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