This three-month hiatus from rugby because of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant players have been left to their own training devices. Some have used this opportunity to hone in on or develop new skills, while some look as though they spent the entirety of the time locked in a gym. 

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Photos recently emerged of France and Racing 92 hooker Camille Chat, who appears to have undergone the same lab experiment as Captain America, adding to his already robust frame. 

Australia and Reds tighthead Taniela Tupou has used this time wisely as well, turning his attention to the bench press. The 24-year-old recently shared a video on social media of him benching 200kgs with the Reds. 

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Now anyone who has accrued the nickname ‘Tongan Thor’ is never exactly going to be weak, but these are impressive numbers for a rugby player – and Reds prop Tupou seems to know that judging by his celebration. 

The prop may need to switch his attention away from the gym slightly over the coming weeks, however, with the Super Rugby AU season fast approaching. The Reds open the tournament on July 3 with a visit by New South Wales Waratahs to the Suncorp Stadium. 

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Face says it all…..200 Club ?? #Blessgo

A post shared by Taniela Tofeki Tupou (@taniela_2pou) on

RugbyPass recently investigated the pros and cons of the bench press as an exercise for rugby players and listed the names of 13 who had achieved personal best marks of 200kgs or more. 

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It was headed by Moldovan prop Gheorghe Gajion, the so-called Beast from the East who had a 230kg bench press attributed to him. He was followed by Aled de Malmanche, the retired Stade Francis player, and Wasps’ Biyi Alo on 220kgs each. 

Generally speaking, strength and conditioning coaches have moved the sport towards core and explosive strength training in the last decade – away from a ‘bulk at all costs’ mindset. 

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