Can You Get Through This Gruelling NRL Workout? - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Can You Get Through This Gruelling NRL Workout?

Courtesy of Kayne Lawton.

A former NRL player for the Gold Coast Titans, Kayne Lawton, has been obsessed with fitness since his career kicked off over a decade ago. “I was lucky enough to start training as an NRL player straight out of school. I made my debut in 2009 against the Brisbane Broncos and it was something I will never forget. I still remember how excited I was before the game. I honestly thought I would be more nervous, but I think it was 15yrs of preparation for my dream, so excitement took over. I sustained a fair few injuries through my career so there were plenty of high and lows,” explains Lawton. “Today I am an online coach and I help people build the best versions of themselves possible through personalised meal plans and training programs. In rugby league the highs were great and the lows I learned a lot and from those experiences and I use them today with Injury prevention, treatment, rehabilitation are overall physical recovery through intense training.”

The-now fitness coach and MACROS Fitness Ambassador, figured out exactly how to work out to be at the top of his game, and turned that knowledge into a career. “In a game of Rugby League muscle is essentially your armour. Out on the field it provides protection as much as it does help impact the opposing players. To get to such a stage, you have to workout in a particular way, one that’s going to stimulate growth in those major muscle groups. You really want a mix of compound weight movements and functional exercises that will prep you for movement required in each game,” he adds.


“My training now is similar to when I played NRL. I like to combine all types the following training; bodybuilding, strength, power workouts whilst keeping the body functional. I never like to shorten the movements when doing the exercises in the gym. I like to use the full range of movement.”


“My diet is much more complete now. I eat 4-5 meals per day now. When I was playing NRL in the pre-season training period we did 3-4 sessions per day so there was limited time to eat and would get in only 3 meals. During the season it is a lot easier because recovery from the games is more a focus so you train less and have more time to get your nutrition in check,” he explains. “It’s a healthy balanced diet that is as the core of my diet. Unprocessed foods with a balance of protein, vitamins and minerals. I personally aim to hit my macros everyday, so depending on where I am at I may look for healthy fats and fibrous/unprocessed carbohydrates to reach that goal. If you’re lacking foodie inspiration but want to stay accountable, that’s where meal delivery services like MACROS are great. You can get pre-portioned, dietician designed meals delivered fresh to your door, with plans that complement your physical goals.”

Kayne’s top five exercises to implement into your workout today: 

  1. Deadlifts – Full body compound movement, improve the bodies posterior chain strength and power.
  2. Barbell squats – Great way to strengthen and gain power throughout your lower body and core.
  3. Standing medicine ball wall throws (side throws) – Great for overall core strength and power. 
  4. Jammer press – My favorite exercise for rugby league it works the whole body. 
  5. Landmine rotations – Another full body core exercise that will strengthen a variety of muscle groups required in rugby league. 

Kanye’s NRL drill

Giant sets: 3 exercises targeting 1 body part

10 reps on each as many sets in 10 minutes ‘no rest between exercises’

Exercise 1) Front squats

Exercise 2) Bulgarian split squat

Exercise 3) Roman dead lift (RDL)

After 10 mins is up have a 4min break

Exercise 1) Arnold press

Exercise 2) Upright row

Exercise 3) Dumbbell lateral raises 

After 10 mins is up have a 4min break

Exercise 1) Deadlifts

Exercise 2) Lying incline bench DB row

Exercise 3) Straight arm pull down

After 10 mins is up have a 4min break

Exercise 1) Dumbbell incline bench press Exercise 2) Cable flys Exercise 3) Bench to bench dips 

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the former Digital Editor at Men's Health Australia, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she has written for Women's Health, esquire, GQ and Vogue magazine.

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