Personal Trainer, Liverpool Street



JDP Top Trainer and Strength expert Jackson helps you to train like a pro for any sport.

Sports and Weight Rooms are quite often not thought of to have any similarity. Sports are played in wide open spaces on a field or court, weights are quite often in a cramped, small room anywhere the gyms can find room for them. Sports are played by athletes who are quick, mobile, and fast, people associate weight training with big muscle bound characters who would tear something as soon as they tried to move quickly. Funnily enough the public perception of weight training and sports couldn’t be further from the truth.


Resistance training (training with weights) has so many applications to sports. Taking their workout routines as seriously as their game time, athletes at the top level know just how important it is. Since this type of training is carried out behind the scenes not in front of the cameras, and it’s not interesting enough to make an enticing headline to write about, it generally goes unnoticed.

The links between training for Strength, Conditioning, Speed, Endurance, Hypertrophy, and Fat loss in the gym has slowly become more and more accepted in a wide variety of sport, and it is showing through in the constant falling of world records in individual sports, and faster and harder paced team sports. Strength and Conditioning Coaches around the world are being recognised for their worth in helping athletes reach their peak performance. Where athletes used to spend all their time on the field practicing, they’ll still practice but they will be more efficient with this time and use the extra time they have to do some sport specific work in the gym to help with aspects of their performance specific to their sport.


Athlete’s spend hours upon hours working on skill development, and endurance training (running miles and miles), quite often even if their sport doesn’t require a huge aerobic capacity as it’s just how it’s always been. This skips out performance aspects such as strength, strength endurance, speed, power and mobility.

Here we’re going to delve a little deeper into the sport specific training that athletes involved in Rugby might use in addition to their field time and skill development sessions.


Rugby is a long game, 80 minutes made up of two 40 minute halves. Players can cover a huge distance running on the field the entire game, running upwards of 10km a game is not unheard of. This obviously places huge demands on the athlete’s aerobic capacity so running should be at the forefront of their training plan right ? Wrong. With coaches already drilling the players for 2-3 times per week for 2 hours or more at a time plus running always being a staple most days this is an aspect of the game that is already taken care of for the most part.


If you start to look at the actual way the game is played the players are required to do much more than just run in a straight line, they are: Sprinting, Walking, Jogging, Tackling, Kicking, Scrumming, all in various directions.

Training for this requires a bit more than just running each day!

Skill development is trained on the field, coming into the gym and trying to do weighted ball passes, or side stepping carrying a plate is not only silly and asking for injury, it also won’t do anything for your on field performance.

Big, basic, compound movements should make up the bulk of your programme to give you the most bang for your buck and make the most of your time in the gym.


Here’s a sample workout of a session I have personally done with a Rugby Player to help develop Lower Body Power & Strength to improve their on field performance.

Warm Ups – Arm Swings + Broomstick Dislocations

Banded External+Internal Rotations

Walking Bodyweight Lunges + Seated Hip External/Internal Rotations

Banded Crab Square Walks

Parallel Seated Box Jump – Working up in 3s to a max effort set, then perform 2 sets here.

Barbell Back Squat – 6 sets of 4 @ 80-85%

Romanian Deadlift – 3 sets of 8 @ 8RPE

Walking Dumbell Lunge – 3 sets of 16 @ 8RPE

Kettlebell Swings – 5 sets of 10 @ 7RPE EMOM

We started with a Power movement as these require the greatest amount of coordination and strongest muscular contractions so best to do when fresh. Being able to quickly create force is crucial for acceleration and speed. This also stimulates the nervous system ready to shift some heavy weights in the following movements.

Moving onto Squats we are working at increasing Lower Body absolute strength to increase the force production that is possible for the athlete through ground contact. Acceleration is Force times Mass, so assuming the athlete’s bodyweight stays relatively stable if we can increase their force production, they get faster. Simple.

Following on from this we work more on Hypertrophy and Strength Endurance, building bigger muscles means more force is possible and joints are more stable. Also being able to repeatedly work through their lactic threshold so they can do multiple repeated high intensity activities with little rest in between is key so they don’t slow down during the game given the sprint/jog style of play.


In and Off Season Training slightly differs, especially in terms of frequency and volume. Off Season you can push the button a lot harder volume and frequency wise to increase the athlete’s various physical attributes. In Season training the frequency drops as skill development and games take priority, and in the gym work becomes more about maintaining strength levels that were built in the Off Season.

If you play a sport and have any questions about Strength and Conditioning work then please feel free to get in touch and book a complimentary session with Jackson.

author: Matt Williams


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