Bulking Up Rugby Players

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Rugby players are renowned for being some of the fittest, strongest and most powerful athletes in all of sport. But they don't all start out that way. In fact, some players come to me needing to gain 10 or 15 kilograms (22-33 pounds) of bulk… in a hurry. Read on, and I'll reveal exactly how they do it, and how you can do it too…

At the highest level, rugby demands a great deal of speed and power. Players need to be heavy enough to take the knocks, but light enough to be quick and agile. It won't come as a surprise to learn that weight training is a fundamental part of every professional player's training routine. Why? Firstly, it helps to shield and protect the player's body from the battering it takes on the pitch. Secondly, it helps to develop speed and strength, both of translates to better a performance on match day.

Most players do some form of weight training 2-3 per week during the season and 3-4 times per week in the off-season. The goal is to gain muscle in the off-season, then simply maintain it during the season.

What does it take in terms of nutrition to bulk up a rugby player?

For a rugby player to gain weight, he needs energy. In other words, he needs to consume more calories than he burns each day. And if he's doing a lot of heavy training, which usually involves moves like power cleans and jump squats, he'll need a lot of calories simply to replace the ones he's burned off. And that doesn't take into account the fact that the calories required to build new muscle tissue won’t come from nowhere, and need to be provided by the diet.

A player that weighs 90 kilograms (198 pounds) will typically get through 4,000-5,000 calories per day. That's a lot of food, especially if you don't have a big appetite. In fact, many players find it simply impossible to get this many calories from solid food alone.

So, what the players do instead is take a high-quality weight-gainer like Progain 2-3 times a day in addition to their regular diet. Progain is rich in calories and contains whey protein along with plenty of easily-digested carbohydrate. It's a quick and easy way for players to get the extra calories they need to grow, and is also great as a post-exercise drink to help with muscle repair and recovery.

Next on the list is carbohydrate. Rugby players need plenty of carbs, especially before, during and after training. We give the players Viper during a training session. It gives them the carbs they need to keep their energy levels high, as well as the staying power to keep giving 100 percent right until the end of the session. Viper also helps to keep them hydrated, as well as replacing the vital salts and minerals lost in sweat.

Once your calorie and carbohydrate needs are taken care of, step three is to ensure adequate protein intake. Most people, rugby players included, just don't get enough of it. We've seen explosive gains in both strength and size when the player's focus on eating enough protein on a regular basis, and not just when they remember. If you want to gain weight and build muscle as fast as possible, we see the best results with around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. For example, a player who weighs 90 kilograms (198 pounds) will need at least 198 grams of protein per day. Good protein sources include whey protein, chicken, fish, lean red meat, and cottage cheese.

We also give the players products like Promax, Promax Extreme and Cyclone, which all contain a unique blend of high-quality whey protein, along with some powerful natural muscle-building support nutrients. Most players also use the Promax and Cyclone bars to boost their protein intake when they're on the go.

Last but not least comes fat. Fat is one of the most important nutrients in your diet, especially if you want to gain weight. Studies show a strong link between dietary fat and testosterone levels, a hormone that plays an important role in muscle growth. Eating enough fat is one of the best ways to keep your testosterone levels at the high end of normal. Go on a low-fat diet, and your testosterone levels are going to drop through the floor.

Healthy sources of fat include extra-virgin olive oil, peanuts, avocado, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, flaxseed or macadamia nuts. The essential long-chain omega-3s, which help with fat burning, are found primarily in high-fat, cold-water fish such as salmon or mackerel.

To ensure the players aren't missing out on any essential fats, they all supplement their diet with Maxi-EFA. This provides long-chain omega-3s, which are far superior to the short-chain omega-3s found in flaxseed oil and various 'choice' oil blends. You also get some omega-6s, which can help to reduce joint pain.

So there you have it; the principles that underpin every successful muscle-building nutrition plan. It works for some of Britain's top Rugby players. Chances are it'll work for you too.

Eds note: If you're looking for the products mentioned in this article, they are available from the sports nutrition company Maximuscle. Click here for more details.

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barnaby   |.
im 14 years old and i find it really hard to put weight on i do weights i have
protien suplements i also have a good strict diet im light compared to all the
other players but im just or nearly as strong as most i play rugby for county
and district i need to bulk can you help?
J.rawlton   |.
useful article, keep these coming. i play rugby seriously and i am always
looking out for performance tips, which for some reason they never cover in
rugby world magazine, keep up the good work.
ben   |.
I play rugby at a fairly high level and have experience of sports nutrition and
bodybuilding, this website explains the basics fairly well, so answering your
question for bulking up: try and consume 6 full meals a day and try and keep
supplement intake to around one serving a day. heres an easy and effective scale
of what your protein and carbohydrate intake should be: carbs- 2.5-3.5grams per
pound per bodyweight
Protein- 1gram per pound per bodyweight.
hope this is
fred   |.
If your 14 and playing rugby at that kind of level, you shouldn't be wanting to
bulk up. concentrate on your skills for now, and when you reach 16-18 you can
start building yourself up. You'll already have the skill required and at that
age you'll be able to put mass on much easier. Doing heavy weights at a young
age can be bad for you. work on your overall fitness for now.
jake   |.
Very helpful article, lets have more for rugby players out there. Other useful
tip, I find red meat really helps me grow but don't touch it 3 days before match
day stick to chicken, turkey or fish. Red Meat takes a long time to get
completly out of your system and will leave you litharjic and heavy. It would
great to have a list of excisers soley targeting rugby's chief muscles.
Chaz   |.
Can you do an article on rugby players who are wanting to loose there excess fat
and bulk up into muscle, what to eat and also what supplements to be taking
mick noctor   |.
using cyclone ive put on half a stone and raised my weight to 13 and a half
stone keep these bulletins coming very helpful
ben reading   |.
to be honest maximuscle products are generally blown right out of
proportion.They are overpriced and not that beneficial.You can make your own
supplements by buying a cheaper whey potein like reflex that is high quality and
mix it with an amount of carb powder (maltodextrin) that you require
individualy. The scale i left in my last comment is very useful as it suites
every individual
alex   |.
im 16 and ive been gyming it up for about 1 yr now ive lost 2 stone in body fat
and put on 6 pounds in muscle, these products realy work and help and advise for
you mate just keep doing loads of light weights and work on power as aposed to
bulk, bench press, snatch and jerk, dead lift, and squats also abdominal
exercises, and stick at it also dont forget to hit the treadmill once and a
while, its hard work but it pays of on the pitch good luck
darren   |.
I take rugby very serious also I followed the help of maximusle and went from 12
stone 9 to 14 stone in 6 months, I take progain first thing when I get up, lunch
and before I go to bed,
Promax before I go to the gym and also straight
I have tried to take cyclone but hate the taste,
It’s all about
the diet if you want to put the weight on 6 to 7 meals a day eat small but
And if you are in a rush remember bad food is better than no food,
I agree with fred if your 14 don’t be in the gym get out and play and get
the skill it will work for you when you’re older and you will be a better
player for it,
Josh   |.
I am 14 years old and i play rugby, my skills are fine but as i am a big lad do
you recommend to do heavy weights and if so what kind of stuff should i do (eg
bench press etc) I take supplements which are creatine and protein
Walshy   |.
I play rugby to a high level and I'm a prop forward. I'm 19 years of age and
have been looking to lose excess fat and become leaner, without losing muscle. I
have been using Promax Diet, a meal replacement shake that provides not only
essential protein but other ingredients to help speed up metabolism. I use for
breakfast and lunch and you just mix with water, and I have a balanced meal such
as fish or chicken with a jacket potato or brown rice/pasta. Snack on fruit and
drink lots of water. I haven't weighed myself yet but can feel difference
nick   |.
hi, im 13 and i play for my school team and another team outside of school. i do
weights and i dont take supplements but i eat a LOT of meat. i have about 4
meals after school of meat and i do plenty of rugby, weights, running and i
found i got twice as bulky as a guy who was taking protien supplements in our
school. doing this, i am currently the bulkiest in my year. when i was 5, i was
a toothpick, then when i was 10, i was extremly fat, then i started doing
weights and rugby then my muscle growth exploded. maybe this will help the 14-16
year olds above. i dont know if this applies for everyone or just me but anyway,
i just wrote what i found to see if it will help other people.
Munnzy   |.
Im 17 i play Openside flanker for my school and outside at a club. My
coach says to me for my build i am really strong but it doesnt matter when it
comes to rucking, my tech is is fine says my coahc its just my weight, im 5'8
and 150lbs. I cna hold my own but i find that in ricks and mauls i just get
pushed about to easy. Im wanting to bulk up to 13stone. Any help on how i can do
that? I work out but i dont seem to put any weight on.
Any help would be great
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