Fitness tips from Seabelo Senatla


Photo: Tyrone Bradley

Take some advice from Seabelo Senatla, he’s built like a superhero and is one of the world’s finest Sevens rugby players. He also knows how to build a serious body that looks good with your top off and is super functional

With his explosive speed and committed defence, Seabelo Senatla is one of the most feared players in the World Rugby Sevens Series. Here he chats to The Red Bulletin about five fitness drills to get the biggest bang for your workout buck.

But first things first. Working out takes discipline and commitment if you’re going to see the benefits and avoid injury. If you train with a partner, that should help with motivation. But if you’re on your ace, Senatla emphasises that your head needs to be in the game.

“If you’re alone almost all the time,” he says, “you can easily say, ‘Stuff this. I’m done for the day’ and knock off without actually finishing your exercises. To train by yourself, you need discipline to do the things you need to do when no-one is watching.”

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These days conditioning programs are moving away from hours spent throwing iron around the gym. But just because you’re shifting only your bodyweight doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. 

“I don’t believe in weights so much,” says Senatla. “I believe in dynamic stuff. And supersets.” 

By ‘supersets’, Senatla means performing two related exercises straight after each other, without a break. In other words, eight reps of one exercise followed by eight reps of another equals one superset.

Senatla specifies three supersets per drill. “That’s not deep!” he laughs, referring to how deep you’re going to have to dig to complete the drills. “Is it deep?” For a Blitzbok, clearly not. 

new heights 🔝 __ or what @shakeymilkshake ??

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1. Shoulders and arms

Senatla recommends pull-ups built into a superset with shoulder-presses. “You’re pulling up your own weight to build upper body strength,” he says. “Then do the shoulder-presses either with the shoulder-press machine or with free weights on a bench.”

So that’s eight pull-ups, followed by eight shoulder-presses, repeated three times. Not exactly a “shallow” start!

2. Chest

“Clap push-ups are more explosive and more dynamic,” says Senatla. “You get the action of doing push-ups as well as exercising arms and shoulders. Then add bench press.”

: You're only stopped by what you allow to stop you.

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3. Back and core

“Do seated rows, and then plank. Hold each plank for one minute,” says Senatla. Eights rows plus one plank equals one superset. Repeat three times.

4. Legs

“Seated leg-press works everything,” notes Senatla approvingly. “Quads, glutes, and it works a bit of your hamstrings too. If you want something that works your hamstring quite intensely, do hamstring curls. Instead of leg-press, you can do squats with a barbell across your shoulders. Aim to do the squats quite explosively. Leg-press or squats work all three departments of your legs so you don’t need to superset this one.” 

: That Burundian type hunger 😝

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5. More core

“Core is most important for a beach body,” says Senatla. “You can do planks or roll-outs. Or you can try ‘Around the World’, which is a minute of front plank, 30 seconds of a side plank, 30 seconds on the other side, and 30 seconds of a reverse plank. Complete three around-the-worlds. As a rule, do everything in threes, and what you do on the left, you do on the right.”

One final thing. Remember, says Senatla, that “greatness is not always about achieving things. It’s about you getting better as a person every single day of your life.”

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12 2016 The Red Bulletin

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