Gavin Henson Training and Diet – Welsh Rugby Player

England rudby team sports nutritionGavin Henson has truly become a household name throughout the UK and is fast becoming recognized as a world class player who thrives on pressure within the international scene.

Rugby is one of the toughest sports to play and it can be very hard on the whole body. Players need to be strong and be able to take punishing blows. Unlike with NFL there is no body armour to act as protection.

Gavin is not the average rugby player though. He is a very style concious individual and is always well groomed and smartly dressed. He caught the eye of many new admirers when he appeared on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2010. For Gavin his fitness training and diet is as important for his appearance as it is for his game.

On the pitch Gavin caught the attention of the media and the public during the 2005 and 2008 Six Nations Championships when he played for Wales. He helped his team win the Six Nations Grand Slam and the Celtic league. As well as some excellent appearances for Wales he also performed very well on the pitch while touring New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions in 2005.

Gavin was not always planning on a career as a professional rugby player. He had the opportunity to go into business with his father. However, he chose rugby and this proved to be a very successful career for him.

Weekly Training Schedule

Gavin Henson has to follow a very strict diet. He rises early in the morning, spends a lot of time working out in the gym and take rest and recovery very seriously. His days consist of pure cardio workouts to build his stamina, plyometrics for power and strength training. In addition to his own personal training there is of course the structured team training also.

Most Important Aspects of Training

Gavin considers muscle definition and strength as being the two most important factors of any gym session. He is a very low level body fat and buy focussing on definition he actually ensures that he keeps fat levels down, thus reducing his weight which can make him faster on the pitch.

Strict Diet Required

Gavin has to maintain a very struct diet to maintain his excellent physique. This means that he does not eat any chocolate, cakes, fast food, takeaways, no sauce, or anything cooked in sauce, no crisps or chips (chip or fries).

His diet consists on a lot of vegetables, fresh fruits, lean proteins and healthy fats. Wholemeal bread, eggs, oats are the mainstay of breakfasts. Lunches are salads with a variety of vegetables, or stews, served with chicken, fish, lean meats and more eggs. Diet and nutrition is a fundamental aspect of any athletes training and development. He also take protein supplements to ensure that he gets adequate protein to build and repair muscle tissue.

Rugby Weight Training Workout

Rugby players work their entire bodies and vary their workout to ensure that they do not over train while also ensuring that they build their entire body as evenly as possible. Emphasis is on strength and power, so heavy weights are lifted in the rep range 5-8 or 8-10 reps per set. Generally 3 sets per exercise for each workout. Strength training workouts are often split to work different muscles throughout the week. This is an example of a beginners rugby strength workout. Follow the links to learn more about each exercise.

  • Military Presses – For shoulders seated military presses
  • Deltoid Lifts – The upper-core – work the delts by lifting dumbbells from your side upwards to the side
  • Biceps Curls – A variety of curls, from preacher, hammer, concentration and bar curls
  • Triceps Extensions – Best way to build stronger triceps
  • Pull Ups – Classic back exercise, overhand and underhand grips, parallel grips and chin ups
  • Dips – Strength workout for chest, triceps and shoulders
  • Flyes – Chest exercise, with dumbbells while lying on a bench, lift them from your side to overhead
  • Squats – Possibly the most important lower body exercise.
  • Deadlifts – Lower back exercise for power and stability
  • Leg Curls – Biceps Curls for legs done while lying flat on your stomach
  • Leg Extensions – Similar to Triceps Extensions except using your legs while sitting.

Rugby Plyometric Workout

Plyometrics, more commonly called power training, are a cornerstone of rugby training. Plyometrics help to build power by training the fast-twitch muscle fibers that allow you to perform explosive movements. In rugby the focus is always on building power and stability, so these exercises are quite different to athletic plyometrics, which tend to be more linear.

A plyometric routine is really pretty simple – it is the execution that is the hard part. You need a solid bench and ideally a box on which you can jump.

  • Jump downs and turns – starting from a bench you jump down in a straight line and then as soon as you land you jump again, turning 90 degrees to one side and jump forwards. Alternate from left to right
  • Step ups – these are done on a bench, alternating each leg while holding a weight (often dumbbells).
  • Box jumps – this is the basic plyometric exercise for rugby. Simply stand in front of a box and jump up onto it with both feet together
  • 180 degrees bench jumps – start on a bench and jump off and turn 180 degrees before landing. Then jump back onto the bench and jump off the opposite side, turning 180 degrees again.

These exercises help to provide stability when leaping to intercept a ball and then turning to run or to turn into a scrum. Rugby players need to be able to land solidly while turning and be ready to take the impact of a tackle. For these various dynamic exercises are required to help build up these specific skills.

5 Comments on “Gavin Henson Training and Diet – Welsh Rugby Player”

  1. Is this article a hidden advertisement for Maximuscle?

  2. MotleyHealth says:

    He was sponsored by Maximuscle back in June 2008 when this interview was done, and the whole England team is still sponsored by them, so that is probably a yes. Although it is not really all that hidden. In fact, this is what Jason Davidson (England fitness coach) has to say:

    The wide range and excellent quality of Maximuscle products were a great benefit to the team during the World Cup. The products assisted our players in making further strength and power gains during the build up to the competition.

  3. MotleyHealth says:

    Gavin Henson was showing off his muscles on Strictly Come Dancing tonight. He also demonstrated how easily he could do pull ups, and he lifted his partner effortlessly. A true power house of muscle.

  4. Adam Nicholas Dommett says:

    his workout isn’t like this at all! he did one for men’s health in 2007, and is far more rugby specific (i.e. power and strength)

    this is roughly the workout, from what i can remember

    clean and jerk (80% of 1RM) 4×4
    dumbbell bench press (80%) 3×8
    power press 4×4
    incline DB press 3×8
    wide grip pull-ups 3×10 (weighted if nessecery)

    hang snatch (80%) 4×4
    concentric squats (80%) 4×4
    power clean (80%)4×4
    weighted drop jumps (jump off one box, land on floor then jump onto raised platform (high as you can jump)) (80%) 4×6


  5. Adam Nicholas Dommett says:

    same as monday but replace clean with just split jerk (80% 4×4) and power press for bicep curls 3×10 (70% 4×4)

    clean from box (90%) 4×1 rep
    jump squats (50% of normal squat weight) 3×8
    eccentric squats (80%) 4×4
    step up with high leg power through 4×4 (80%)

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