Get Fit For Rugby

With the Six Nations currently be aired I thought it would be a good time to write a blog about how I train any client that is looking to get fitter, stronger and more powerful for Rugby.

The four sections I use for my programing are strength, power, conditioning and mobility.


What is strength training?

Strength training is the use of maximum load through a series of exercises (normally compound), to overload the muscles and in turn repair and get stronger.

These exercises I usually do in a pyramid set, weight getting higher with each set and reps getting lower 5 reps down to 1 rep max.

For example;

deep squats (my stats)

5 reps @ 110kg,

4 reps @ 120kg,

3 reps @ 125kg,

2 reps @ 130kg

1 Rep Max @ 132.5kg.

Then exactly I do the same format with the following exercises (not all on the same day):

Deadlifts, incline bench press, hip thrusts, pull ups, clean and press are all big compound movements I use in my programming that stimulate strength.

*Note: don’t get this mixed up with Hypertrophy, usually with muscle gain it will not have much benefit for strength and power.


Training for power is different, instead of working at maximum load your working for   maximum velocity (speed). I usually incorporate this with sports specific movements like slams, jumps, rotational throws and landmine presses, focusing on the eccentric phase slow and controlled and the concentric phase fast and explosive. This can also be incorporated into the third section of “conditioning”.


Conditioning the body for a sport can include aerobic exercises such as plyometrics and combine power exercise which in turn increase the heart rate increase fitness.

In my sessions, rugby drills can help imitate the pattern of rugby play, for example 2-3 minutes of work and 30-90 seconds rest.

The change of levels such as burpees can help mimic rucks and malls & 60m Sprints (rugby field length) can help mimic for a break down the wing. (see video)


Increasing Mobility will not only help with performance, it helps with injury prevention also.

The best advice I can give is use a foam roller each day, but also try using a resistance band for range of movement, do at least one yoga session a week. If you are playing sport on a regular basis, try to have a Sports Massage as often as possible.