Sleightholme thriving after dropping muscle

Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

LONDON: Ollie Sleightholme is operating at his ideal playing weight after discovering the bulking up programme that turned his Northampton team-mates into Gallagher Premiership champions took the edge off his own game.

Sleightholme is aiming to win his first England cap on the upcoming tour to Japan and New Zealand to cap a stellar season that produced a domestic title and the personal triumph of emerging as the league’s top try-scorer.

But the turbo-charged wing’s success only came after realising that adding muscle was not having the same impact on him as it was for other members of Saints’ backline, who became stronger in contact with the extra kilos.

“There’s a fine line between being too big and being in a good spot,” said the 24-year-old, son of former Northampton and England wing Jon.

“At the start of the season I was a bit too bulked up and it was during the season that I found where I needed to sit with my body and then I got into a rhythm after that.

“I had put on eight kilos – I went from 90 kilos to 98 kilos in four-and-a-half or five weeks. It was just loads of gym and loads of eating, basically.”

He added: “I’m now somewhere around 92 kilos, so just a couple of kilos heavier than where I was. A weight of 92/93 is probably where I want to be.”

England captain Jamie George describes Sleightholme’s pace as “scary”, but the finisher’s speed training requires the same nuanced approach as adding muscle to his frame.