Weights Workout From Women’s Rugby World Cup Winner Vicky Fleetwood

Full-Body Weights Workout
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Given how long the most recent COVID-19 lockdown has lasted, there will be a lot of people raring to go when gyms finally reopen. However, while going in all guns blazing might feel satisfying at the time, it’s not the smartest approach, since the consequent DOMS might make you hope for another extended lockdown just to recover.

Instead, start with this measured full-body workout from Rugby World Cup winner and level 3 PT Vicky Fleetwood.

“I’d suggest starting by lifting around just 50-60% of your max and aiming for three sets of eight to 12 reps of each exercise,” says Fleetwood. “This may not feel like much but it’ll be a great way to ease your body back into lifting without being too sore for days after.”


Take five to 10 minutes working through the mobility and kettlebell exercises below to prepare for the workout.

Back rotation

Lie with your back on the floor, knees bent and feet planted. Rotate your head to one side while lowering your knees towards the floor in the opposite direction. Repeat on the other side.


Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Arch your back, then push your chest towards the floor, bringing your head up.

Downward-facing dog calf pump

Start on all fours, then push your hips back and up so you’re supported by your hands and feet and you form a triangle with the floor. Lower one heel to stretch your calf, then the other.


From standing, roll your spine forwards and down and place your hands on the floor. Walk your hands out until you’re in the high plank position, then walk your hands back and roll back up.

World’s greatest stretch

In a high plank position, bring your right foot forwards and place it outside of your right hand. Twist your torso to take your right elbow down towards your right foot. Then reverse the twist to take your right hand up towards the ceiling.

T press-up

Either in a standard press-up position or with your knees on the ground, lower towards the ground, then push back up and rotate to stretch one arm straight up. Return to the starting position. Alternate sides with each rep.

Banded activation

Loop a resistance band around your thighs and perform a series of glute bridges, crab walks and squats.

Kettlebell thruster

Reps 12

Hold two light kettlebells in the rack position, resting on your forearms by your shoulders. Drop into a squat, then drive back up and use your momentum to press the kettlebells overhead.

Kettlebell swing

Reps 12

Hold a kettlebell in both hands between your legs. Swing it back between your legs then drive your hips for


wards to swing it up to shoulder height. Control the swing back down.

The session uses supersets to target different muscle groups along with core exercises.

“When doing supersets, do one set of exercise A, then one set of exercise B and then take your rest – a break of around 60-90 seconds works well,” says Fleetwood.

1A Squat or leg press

Squat or leg press

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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 0sec

Rest a barbell across your shoulders behind your neck. “Your feet should be just wider than hip-width apart and flat on the floor,” says Fleetwood. “Sit back as if on a chair, keeping your chest up. If you’re new to squats you can place a box or bench behind you to touch with your bum before standing back up. Choose the leg press machine instead if you’re not confident with squat technique or find it difficult to get range.”

1B Alekna


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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 60-90sec

“Lie on your back with your knees tucked and hands on your knees,” says Fleetwood. “Extend your legs, keeping your heels off the floor and your arms out behind you. Don’t let your back arch – keep it flat on the floor. Extend one leg at a time if your back arches when moving both legs together. You can make the exercise harder by adding a weight in each hand.”

2A Deadlift


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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 0sec

For the deadlift, stand with your feet under a barbell on the floor. Bend your knees to lower and grasp the bar, keeping your chest facing forwards. Maintain a flat back as you stand and lift the weight up, keeping the bar as close to your legs as possible.

2B Cable/banded pallof press

Cable/banded pallof press

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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 60-90sec

“Set a cable or resistance band at shoulder height and stand side-on to it,” says Fleetwood. “Hold the band or cable in both hands by your chest and press it out in front of you. Don’t let it pull you round!”

3A Bench press

Bench press

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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 0sec

“Lie flat on the bench with your feet flat on the floor,” says Fleetwood. “Grip a barbell with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart and lift, so you begin the exercise with extended arms. Lower the bar all the way down to your chest and then press back up. You can use dumbbells if you prefer.”

3B Romanian deadlift

Romanian deadlift

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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 60-90sec

“Stand holding a barbell in front of your thighs,” says Fleetwood. “Keep your arms straight and push your hips back, keeping a flat back, so you lower the bar while keeping it in contact with your legs. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, return to standing.”

4A Seated cable row or dumbbell single-arm row

Seated cable row or dumbbell single-arm row

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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 0sec

If you have a cable machine available, perform a single or double arm seated row on it. Sit holding the attachment with your arms extended. Draw your elbows back, keeping them close to your body, bringing the attachment to your navel. Return to the start under control.

If using a dumbbell, lean over a bench and maintain a flat back as you row the dumbbell up to your chest.

4B Commando plank

Commando plank

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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 60-90sec

“Start in a standard plank position, resting on your forearms,” says Fleetwood. “Push up one arm at a time into a high plank position. Don’t let your hips rock, and push equally into the floor through both feet. Then lower back into plank position.”

5A Dumbbell overhead press

Dumbbell overhead press

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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 0sec

“Stand holding dumbbells by your shoulders in an overhand grip,” says Fleetwood. “Press the weights above your head until your arms are straight, then lower them back down to your shoulders.”

5B TRX row

TRX row

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Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 60-90sec

Hold the TRX handles and lean back. The closer to horizontal your body is, the harder the exercise will be. You can also bend your legs to make the move easier. Keep your hips up throughout. Pull yourself up until you’re level with the handles by squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.