Harlequins Ladies and England international rugby player Leanne Riley (24) first started playing rugby aged 10, in her home city of Coventry. Since then, she has earned 21 caps for her county and played an integral role in helping Harlequins Ladies reach the final of the inaugural Tyrell’s Premier 15s.

Leanne Riley Credit: Getty Images for Harlequins

Leanne Riley Credit: Getty Images for Harlequins

Leanne has a BTEC National Diploma in Sports Performance and Excellence, and juggles training with her full-time job as a strength and conditioning coach.

Here, Leanne talks to us about what a normal week looks like for both during and outside of the regular season… During the rugby season, which runs from July through to the end of April, my days are always really varied. Matchday is almost always on a Saturday, so this mean that Sunday is my recovery day. This normally consists of a mixture of stretching and very light exercise.

Monday’s are what we call a “regeneration day”. This is a day of trying to restore the body to its natural state and varies hugely depending on how my body is feeling. If I’m feeling good following the match, I’ll head straight to the gym for a total body workout session. However, if my body isn’t feeling quite up to scratch, and I’m still feeling a bit sore, I’ll focus on exercises that keep me off my feet, such as a watt bike workout.

Tuesday is the day that I am back training with my Club. Our sessions consist of 90 minutes of rugby with the entire squad. Before the evening session however, I will try and fit in a full weight and speed session in the gym. 

On Wednesday, I’ll tend to either do a conditioning session or a weights session, depending on the workout that I did on the Monday. Occasionally I’ll do this on my own, but most of the time I train with one of the Club’s S&C coaches who I work with and we’re able schedule times we can both train around work.

On Thursday it’s back to Club for 90 minutes of rugby, with speed and weights training beforehand.

Then on Friday it’s more often than not a rest day, in preparation for the match on Saturday. I might also add in the odd yoga or mobility session if I am struggling. Alongside my rugby career at Harlequins, I also work as a strength and conditioning coach. I am really lucky because it’s very flexible, meaning I can split my time between working in the office, and working at home. If I’m at home, I tend to get up early and do my own gym session before starting work, which means a lot of my gym-based sessions are completed between 06:00-09:00 before I start work. This gives me more flexibility when it comes to speed, fitness and rugby skills training.

At the moment we are in the off-season and this is when I start to spend my time doing a bit more Olympic lifting as well as speed and power training. It’s great to mix up my routine and have a bit more fun with it. I’ve also recently dome some CrossFit sessions which I enjoy and some road cycling, though only when the weather is nice!

Leanne Riley plays for Harlequins Ladies and is an ambassador for Switch, Harlequins’ girls programme


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