Conor Murray outlines 5 core elements of his gym routine

The 93 kg scrum-half played every minute of the wins over England and France. Here’s a taster of what it takes to get in that condition.

AS IRELAND KEEP winning, Conor Murray’s claim to the title of the world’s best scrum-half is getting stronger and stronger.

Getting to that level of the game isn’t easy, it takes non-stop hard work on the training field, in the kitchen and in the gym. For this piece, we asked the Munster and Ireland star to focus on the latter of those three components when we caught up with him this week.

As he heads towards his 26th birthday in the ideal position to defend the Six Nations title before hoping to push Ireland beyond the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time ever, this is clearly the biggest year of Murray’s career to date. Here are some of the exercises he hopes will make it the best.

(Be sure to get properly trained before taking on any weightlifting in your local gym.)

Upper body

Jammer Press

“It’s a shoulder strength exercise, similar to a dumbbell shoulder press, just a variation,” Murray says as he looks back on a session he designed for a MaxiNutrition ad that will screen later this year.

jammer We tried not to get in the way of filming, so here's someone who's not Conor Murray demonstrating the Jammer. Source: James Kohler/YouTube

“It’s just about not being repetitive or getting board doing the same one so I switch it up between the jammer and shoulder press.

“I’d usually lift 30-40 kilos. It all depends on what you’re trying to do. If you’re doing hypertrophy, you’d be up around 10-12 reps, but during the season it’s about maintaining your strength and we’d normally keep it down to five or six.”

Power Clean

“Cleans would be less because you’d have a lot more weight on, I’d do around 100 kilos for maybe three reps. You see freaks in the front row doing about 150 or 60, but I’d only injure myself doing something like that.

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power_clean Source: Rogue Fitness/YouTube

“We do it for strength and speed. It drives you to get the bar off the ground as explosively as possible and then get underneath it and then squat back up. It’s a good one for your leg strength and stuff. Similar to squatting, but with a bit more movement to it.

IMAG0584 Source: The42

“It does tend to take a lot out of you, so it’s one we save for  pre-season when you’re trying to get that explosiveness and make a few gains in that area.”


“You do a pulling exercise to balance the pushing one, so if you did a bench press you’d have to level it out with a back exercise so you become better rounded.

“It works your traps. You do a lot of them in pre-season and then you end up picking up a knock here or there on your shoulder and it’s sometimes difficult to get the chins in during the year.

“You hang a weight off your waist and there’s a bit of competition around. So that’s a favourite of the lads when things get going in the gym. I’d be quite middle of the road with the chins – if you’re doing five or six reps you might be at 20-30 kilos maybe. Some lads are lifting 40-45, 50 kilos — Andrew Conway from Munster is king of that at the moment.

IMAG0588 Source: The42

“I also do a lot of bench pulls. Lying on your stomach on a high bench and pulling the barbell up until it hits the metal.”

Lower body


“We do a lot of plyometrics before lower body weight session. I have to stress they’re not a warm-up by any means.”

Source: MaxiNutrition/YouTube

“For instance, you do maybe hurdle hops, single leg hops trying to keep your balance and the drop jump where you’re up on a ledge, you drop off to the counter movement mat and you jump over a hurdle.

Conor Murray Before he was Ireland's first-choice: Murray undergoes some hurdle hops at New Zealand 2011 Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“The mat measures how little time you spend on the ground, so that’s probably the one that’s most competitive. We’re all of a similar level, there or there abouts. It’s another fun element: it’s good to have a few exercises where you can compete against each other and have a bit of craic.

Squat / single leg squat

“The single leg is one I like doing and I suppose it’s almost position specific for a scrum-half. You have to get low down to the ground to get the ball out of a ruck and be in that position to be explosive out of it to get pace or power onto it.

“I would ask the fitness coaches to have that in my programme through the year. it probably helps with your flexibility as well, so that’s probably the main thing. So if you’re able to do that with a bit of weight it makes you more powerful.

“I think I had 10 kilos [in the Vine above]. It’s about the balance more than the weight, but obviously the more weight you have the harder it is to balance. So I try to push myself on that. I’d usually do 15 kilos or a couple of sets on 20. If I had a game at the weekend you’d only be doing sets of four or five reps, but in pre-season you’d push that up to eight to get that size on you.

Conor Murray Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I’d do a regular back squat onto a box so your legs come to 90 degrees. Because it’s your whole body you can do a lot more weights so if you were to do five, say, I might be able to do upwards of 150.”

Ireland’s leading sports nutrition brand, MaxiNutrition is fuelling Conor Murray to be at his best in 2015, For more information, visit

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Sean Farrell

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