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In previous articles we have been discussing how to improve sprint speed and what exercises are best for strength. In those articles we came to the conclusion that training in just one rep range was not optimal. Training strength, speed and power coherent to each other was the best way in progressing each one of them. For example just training for strength in the 5 rep range for a year sure will get you stronger, but is it optimal? No it isn’t.

Training hypertrophy along with that and adding in speed work will help progress your strength gains even further along with increased muscle growth and explosiveness. That is what we want as a rugby player, to improve everything at the same or similar rates.

There is no point gaining 2 stone of muscle and becoming a slower more sluggish player when you can gain that 2 stone at a slower rate maybe, but all the other aspects like strength and speed will be trained to the same level. You will become a bigger, stronger, faster athlete, which brings me back to the whole topic of this article: Dr. Layne Norton’s PHAT routine.

For those whom are not aware of who Layne Norton is, he is very well known in the bodybuilding and powerlifting world. He is a professional natural bodybuilder, professional power lifter, has a PhD in nutritional sciences and also holds some world records in some power lifting exercises. To put it simply this guy knows his stuff and proves it with his feats. Layne is a strong believer in training in different rep ranges at the same time, that is why he created this programme. He believes to improve strength at the best rate is to also train hypertrophy and speed work at the same time. So before you start your next season’s training programme and want to concentrate on increasing just strength, remember that the best way to do so is to implement a training system like this ( PHAT ). We highly recommend you try this routine for overall improvement as a player and if you do try it, please return and comment below and how it went for you!

Day 1: Upper Power

Day 2: Lower Power

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Back & Shoulders Hypertrophy

Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy

Day 6: Chest & Arms Hypertrophy

Day 7: Rest

 

Day 1: Upper Body Power

Pulling Power Movement: Bent over or Pendlay rows
3 sets of 3-5 reps
Assistance Pulling movement: Weighted Pull ups
2 sets of 6-10 reps
Auxiliary Pulling movement: Rack chins
2 sets of 6-10 reps
Pressing Power Movement: Flat dumbbell presses
3 sets of 3-5 reps
Assistance pressing movement: Weighted dips
2 sets of 6-10 reps
Assistance pressing movement: Seated dumbbell shoulder presses
3 sets of 6-10 reps
Auxiliary curling movement: Cambered bar curls
3 sets of 6-10 reps
Auxiliary extension movement: Skull crushers
3 sets of 6-10 reps

 

Day 2: Lower Body Power

Pressing Power Movement: Squats
3 sets of 3-5 reps
Assistance pressing movement: Hack Squats
2 sets of 6-10 reps
Assistance extension movement: Leg extensions
2 sets of 6-10 reps
Assistance pulling movement: Stiff legged deadlifts
3 sets of 5-8 reps
Assistance pulling/curling movement: Glute ham raises or lying leg curls 
2 sets of 6-10 reps
Auxiliary calf movement: Standing calf raise
3 sets of 6-10 reps
Auxiliary calf movement: Seated calf raise 
2 sets of 6-10 reps

 

Day 3: Rest

 

Day 4: Back & Shoulders Hypertrophy

Pulling Power Exercise speed work: Bent over or Pendlay rows
6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
Hypertrophy pulling movement: Rack chins
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Hypertrophy pulling movement: Seated cable row
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Hypertrophy pulling movement: Dumbbell rows or shrugs bracing upper body against an incline bench
2 sets of 12-15 reps
Hypertrophy pulling movement: Close grip pulldowns
2 sets of 15-20 reps
Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Seated dumbbell presses
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Upright rows
2 sets of 12-15 reps
Hypertrophy shoulder movement: Side lateral raises with dumbbells or cables
3 sets of 12-20 reps

 

Day 5: Lower Body Hypertrophy

Lower Body Power Exercise speed work: Squats
6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
Hypertrophy pressing movement: Hack squats
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Hypertrophy pressing movement: Leg presses
2 sets of 12-15 reps
Hypertrophy extension movement: Leg extensions
3 sets of 15-20 reps
Hypertrophy pulling movement: Romanian deadlifts
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Hypertrophy curling movement: Lying leg curls
2 sets of 12-15 reps
Hypertrophy curling movement: Seated leg curls
2 sets of 15-20 reps
Hypertrophy calf movement: Donkey calf raises 
4 sets of 10-15 reps
Hypertrophy calf movement: Seated calf raises
3 sets of 15-20 reps

 

Day 6: Chest & Arms Hypertrophy

Pressing Power Exercise speed work: Flat dumbbell presses
6 sets of 3 reps with 65-70% of normal 3-5 rep max
Hypertrophy pressing movement: Incline dumbbell presses
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Hypertrophy pressing movement: Hammer strength chest press
3 sets of 12-15 reps
Hypertrophy fly movement: Incline cable flyes
2 sets of 15-20 reps
Hypertrophy curling exercise: Cambered bar preacher curls
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Hypertrophy curling exercise: Dumbbell concentration curls
2 sets of 12-15 reps
Hypertrophy curling exercise: Spider curls bracing upper body against an incline bench
2 sets of 15-20 reps
Hypertrophy extension exercise: Seated tricep extension with cambered bar
3 sets of 8-12 reps
Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable pressdowns with rope attachment
2 sets of 12-15 reps
Hypertrophy extension exercise: Cable kickbacks
2 sets of 15-20 reps

Day 7: Rest

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