What Should Rugby League Players Do In The Off Season

The footy season is a long one that’s for sure. Most of you play for club, school and have a variety of rep commitments. At the end of the season your body gives one big sigh of relief that it’s all over.

All those niggling little injuries you put up with through the year can finally have the time to rest. Believe it or not your body doesn’t like to be beat up in the gym and on the field for half the year. If you are carrying an injury have a few weeks off and do absolutely no training when your season is over. Yes you may feel like you’re withering away and you couldn’t lift a bin lid but at the end of it all your body will be fresh, your nervous system will be rebooted and your shitty knee and shoulder has had the time it needed to repair.

Don’t carry last year’s injuries into next season.

Unfortunately some guys start trying to improve their fitness for the next season right after the last one has finished. This is a great way to make sure you are going to carry last year’s injuries into next year but in a worsened state.

More is not always better.

Give your joints a rest don’t go play Oz Tag or Touch, the two sports that rely on hard lateral movements (stepping). Putting added pressure to worn out knees, hips and ankles after a hard footy season is just asking for further injury.

Enjoy the time off, once your body has totally recharged you will be feeling focused and hungry again. That’s when it’s time hit the gym.

Get bigger.

For the next few months or so it’s about getting bigger, not stronger. We don’t need to go heavy for muscle growth in fact it’s where a lot of us go wrong. Heavy lifting places huge amounts of stress on the joints and the nervous system, and we still want to give all of that a rest for the long year ahead. Introduce your joints back to weights training softly. Shooting for a 1 max effort on the squat rack after all that time away is reckless and is just begging for an injury. Unfortunately this happens a lot from strength coaches, putting their ego before your safety in aid of a great 1RM come re-testing-day.

Building muscle isn’t about going heavy.

Building muscle with rep ranges between 8 to 12 is perfect. Focus on total tension and contraction in the muscle and cramp it up. If you are using a seated row machine and you can feel your biceps being worked – it’s too heavy. Drop the weight, drop the ego and feel where you are trying to develop. It may look like your lifting like a small preschooler but you’re going to develop so much better. Don’t worry about how much weight you can lift and shift your attention to how efficient you can lift. If you can cause the muscle to cramp up and make it uncomfortable then you know how to contract your muscle and you will be on your way to building a bigger, leaner body. Knowing how to contract a muscle in an isolation movement, will have everything firing much better and stop certain muscles dominating in a big movement like the dead lift or squat.

Starting off this way for a good period of time is the perfect way to reintroduce your joints back to heavy strength training when the time comes.


  • At the end of your football season have as much rest as you need and take extra time away if you have injuries.
  • Start back in the gym with light weights for a good 6-8 weeks shooting for 8 -12 reps, target and squeeze the muscle your working really hard.
  • Then do your 1 RM testing and move into your strength phase.


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