Pre-Season Rugby Fitness Training – Phase 3

MultipowerFitness trainer Matt Cross continues the Rugby Fitness series with the third part of his pre-season training programme, in association with Multipower.

“The thing we should most enjoy about any endeavour is the road we travel together to get there.”

Jim Tressel

This phase is all about general muscle power and should last for 4 weeks – you should perform the three sessions below each week, and try to allow for at least a day’s rest in between each session if possible.

This phase will allow us to build upon the strength gains we have made so far and will put us in a good place when we come into our last phase which concentrates on rugby-specific and functional power transfer. The mistake that most people will make when training specifically to improve power is to go too heavy with the weight and as a consequence will move the weight too slowly during the movement.

Essentially Power is strength x speed and so BOTH components are required in order to make an athlete powerful. The main focus and mindset during each repetition must simply be to move the bar as fast as possible (whilst maintaining correct form) through the air and back again. Most of the science indicates that about 70% of the maximal load for that number of reps is optimal to get the best ratio of force, acceleration and mass and therefore the best and most effective training adaptations.

For example if you are bench-pressing for 5 reps and your maximum is 100 kilos, following the 70% principle above you would select 70 kilos and move it as explosively as possible through each of the 5 reps. The same principle applies for all the exercises in this programme. For those players that are less experienced with their training – 60% of the maximum may be more suitable for the first couple of weeks.

In the sessions below there are Olympic lifts included. Please do not try and perform these unless you know how to do so and you have a proper lifting platform at your disposal. If you need a replacement exercise or some programme modifications please email me at and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

I have had over 25 emails with some really good feedback and people telling me that they are making more gains in the first 3 or 4 weeks than they normally do during a whole pre-season programme, which is fantastic to hear. If you have any feedback or want to let me know how you are getting on please also email to the above address.

I have had some high demand in the emails for people asking for a general rehab/ prehab and injury prevention programme. I will get this posted up for everyone for next week.

Session 1

Hang clean hi pull 5 x 6
Snatch grip speed deadlift 5 x 6
Renegade rows x 8
Superset (s/s) x 5 sets

Single leg lateral TRX jump squats x 10
s/s x 5 sets

Multi directional chest press x 5/5/5/5/5
s/s x 5 sets

Barbell sit ups x 10

Session 2

Dead start concentric squats (from pins) 5 x 6
Med Ball explosive push ups x 10
s/s x 5 sets

Box jumps x 6 (weighted after week 2)
s/s x 5 sets

Russian twists x 12 total
s/s x 5 sets

Multi directional shoulder press x 5/5/5/5/5
s/s x 5 sets

Rockies x 8

Session 3

Speed Bench 5 x 6
Speed single arm row 5 x 6 each arm
Coretex balance x 1 minute
s/s x 5 sets

Rugby bounce w/ Medicine ball rebounder passes x 5 each side
s/s x 5 sets

Chin ups x max
s/s x 5 sets

Explosive cable rows x 8 each side

Rugby Nutrition

As a reminder, here are the three main products that I believe should be a staple part of any rugby player’s daily nutrition:
Whey Protein
Whey protein
This is simply the building blocks of muscle. Getting 3g/kilo (the maximum amount that is thought the body can store) food alone with a busy schedule isn’t easy and can be very expensive. Simple whey concentrate does the job better than any other product.

Fish oil (high in omega 3)
You only need to type in fish oils into an internet search engine to find out the benefits that these have been reported to have within the human body and for training. If I could only recommend one supplement to everybody I work with – fish oil would be it. You want the oil to be high particularly in omega 3 as this is the anti-inflammatory portion of fish oil. Fish oils will help you get lean and will aid recovery and joint health plus much more.

Multivitamin and mineral tablet
In a varied and perfect diet we would get everything we needed, unfortunately 99% of us (even those who think they do any a perfect diet) will be deficient in some vitamins and minerals. With the quality of food constantly being reduced to save people money and soil degradation nutrient levels in food aren’t what they used to be. See this as a cheap way to fight against vitamin & mineral deficiency. Also if you are deficient on something it may lead to deficiency in something else more important.

Multipower are the nutritional sponsors of Mark Cueto, RC Toulon and Leeds Carnegie. For Sports nutrition tailored to your individual needs visit Follow Multipower on Facebook at www.facebook/multipowersportsfooduk

3 thoughts on “Pre-Season Rugby Fitness Training – Phase 3

  1. Hey great article. Wondering what is involved in a Multi Directional Chest Press and Shoulder Press. Tried researching the exercises on youtube but no joy.

    Hope you can help



  2. Same question as above, cant seem to find any info on whats invloved in the Multi Directional Chest Press and Shoulder Press.

    Cant figure out what the Rockies are either?

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