Athlete of the Month: June

Having so many fantastic sporting students here at the University of Leeds it’s hard to narrow it down to just one a month. Yet with the start of the World Cup and her international playing status we caught up with Rachel Newborough from women’s football.  We managed to get hold of Rachel in one of her S&C sessions before she set of for World Cup qualifiers!


Who do you play for and when do you play?

I play for Doncaster Rovers Belles, University of Leeds and Northern Ireland. I play matches on a Wednesday and Sunday.

What is your training schedule?

I train with football Tuesday night, Thursday night and Friday afternoon. Then I go to the gym roughly 2 or 3 times a week.

What Strength and Conditioning (S&C) training do you do?

I do S&C training at the Gryphon room twice a week. I do a lower body and upper body session with core. Sometimes I follow this with a blow out on the bike at the end!

What is your favourite exercise?

My favourite exercise is a back squat. With practice you can increase the weight quite significantly and you always feel it the next day so you know you’ve worked hard.

What is your least favourite exercise?

My least favourite exercise is pull-ups. It’s my least favourite because I’ve been practising for a long time and haven’t seen much improvement. I find it pretty frustrating.

How do you feel S&C has helped you develop as an athlete?

S&C has helped my game so much over the last 2 years after I highlighted speed and power as two areas I really wanted to work on. After doing more sprint training in the sports hall and powerful weight lifting I noticed a change in my game. The gps in my international game against Wales recorded that I had the highest speed within the team after the training I did prior. I’ve also found that I can hold my ground better against stronger players which has improved my defending massively.


I have been training Rachel for the last 2 years and it has been amazing. She is a pleasure to work with, consistently giving everything her all. Rachel is willing to try whatever she can to get the most out of her performances on the pitch. She brings a great energy and enthusiasm to the gym, not only making the sessions more enjoyable and productive, but also helping to improve the sessions of those athletes around her. An athlete that you wish you could have the pleasure of training every day.


Here is Rachel hard at work before she left for qualifiers: