Training & Conditioning

Strength Training The Sport-Specific Way
Strength training has become a fundamental component in a rugby training program. While it's true that ice hockey players require brute force and strength to cope with the physical demands of the game, explosive power is also an important consideration...

Training to Increase Lactate Tolerance
The multi-sprint nature of rugby, often with minimal rest periods, means that blood lactate can soon accumulate in players. Nothing is more debilitating than lactate accumulation so this form of tolerance training can have a dramatic effect on a player's performance...

Strength Training The Sport-Specific Way
Strength training has become a fundamental component in a rugby training program. While it's true that ice hockey players require brute force and strength to cope with the physical demands of the game, explosive power is also an important consideration...

How To Design Resistance Training Programs For Athletes
Here is the step-by-step process of developing a sport-specific strength training plan - one that meets the demanding nature of rugby...

Power Training for Athletes
Strength and power are not the same. Do rugby players need to be powerful? Absolutely. Learn how you can convert a solid strength base into explosive power on the field...

Plyometric Training for Developing Explosive Power
Plyometrics is used in many sports as an effective way to increase speed and power. Rugby players can benefit from both upper and lower body plyometric exercises...

Strength Training Alongside Other Types of Training
Rugby players must complete a wide variety of training. How does strength training interact with other components of fitness? Does endurance training have a negative effect on strength and power? And does strength and power training negatively affect aerobic power or flexibility?

Using Power Cleans in Sports Conditioning
Power cleans can be useful for developing explosive power in rugby. Use this technique guide and animated images to see how the lift should be performed...

The Speed Training Program
Speed, agility and quickness plays a major role in the success of every rugby player. Here's how to design a speed training program and how to use and combine various types of drills...

Speed Drills for Maximum Velocity
These speed drills are used to develop basic, all-out speed and acceleration off the mark...

Speed & Agility Drills
These agility exercises are easy to set up and require little or no equipment. They are ideal for teams and individual training...

Ladder Agility Drills for Quick Feet & Coordination
Speed ladders form an integral part of many speed training programs. These five drills will improve your foot speed and coordination...

Flexibility Exercises for Hockey
Increased flexibility may reduce the risk of certain injuries. It may also allow a rugby player to move with greater dexterity, agility and finesse...

Dynamic Stretches & Stretching Routine
Dynamic stretching is now recommended over static stretching before a game or rugby training session...

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
We've all suffered it - the stiff, aching muscles that follow the first day of training or a long layoff. But can it be prevented or treated?

A Sample Off Season Strength Training Program
The off or closed season is typically about rest and regeneration. But that doesn't mean doing nothing at all.

Rowing For Rugby

The physical conditioning requirements of rugby are diverse and unique to the sport. The combination of endurance, strength, power, speed and flexibility needed makes the conditioning process a challenging one.

Weight Training

Many people base their strength and conditioning training on muscle groups (Legs day, Chest day, Back day, Arms day etc) but this is flawed as muscles need to work together to produce movement so really we should train movements not muscles.

There are 6 basic movement patterns that we all use in our daily lives and when playing rugby. They are:

Squat, Bend, Push, Pull, Twist and Single Leg

We group these movements together to perform skills on the pitch such as Scrummaging (Squat, Bend and Push), Rucking (Squat, Bend, Push, Pull) and Mauling (Squat, Single Leg, Push, Pull).

Practicing good form in these patterns in the gym will allow the moves to become second nature so that when under pressure in a game you will find it second nature to hit a ruck with a flat back or land from a line out without turning your knees and ankles in.

Knowing these movement patterns and the exercises that train them will help you plan your training sessions to ensure you are efficient in what you do on the pitch

  • Squat: This is a key movement pattern for virtually all sports.  It builds strength primarily in the legs and hips (but also core strength) but importantly it develops balance, co-ordination and even flexibility. Done properly squats will help prevent injury as they strengthen the hips, knees and ankles to stay in the correct alignment. 

Squat for success

Click below for sample exercises:

Back Squat

Front Squat

Overhead Squat

Land Mine Squat

  • Bend: Bending at the waist is something we constantly do in rugby as we pick up a ball, tackle, hit a ruck or scrummage or before we jump.  It is also a major source of injury and back pain so learning to keep a natural curve in the lower back as we bend and shoulders squeezed back is very important.

Sample exercises:

Romanian Deadlift

Good Morning

Land Mine Dead Lift

A big horizontal push

  • Push: The upper body movement of pushing an object away from the body or the body away from an object such as a hand off . There are 2 forms of push – horizontal (arms in front of the chest) and vertical (arms above the head) and they can be done with one hand or two.

Sample exercises:

Horizontal: Push Ups and Bench Press

Vertical: Overhead Press

  • Pull: An upper body movement pulling the body towards something or pulling something towards the body.  Again this can be horizontal or vertical and one hand or two.

Sample exercises:

Horizontal: Bent Over Row

Vertical: Chin Ups


1 Leg Squats train strength, balance and co-ordination

  • Single Leg: Anything done on one leg which for the most part is running but also includes the following exercises:


Step Up

Split Squat

One Leg Squat

Land Mine Single Leg Romanian Dead Lift

  • Twist: Rugby involves not only twisting through the torso such as when passing but also resisting twisting movements such as props resisting each other in a scrummage.

Sample exercises:

Twists: Medicine Ball Twist

Resisting Twists: Planks

  • Combos: Once you have good technique in each pattern you can start putting them together in combination exercises that work more than one pattern just as happens on the pitch.

Sample exercises:

Deadlift – Pull & Bend

Cleans and Snatches – Pull, Bend, Squat

Press/Push Press/Jerk – Push, Squat

Lunge with Twist

Burpee – Push, Bend, Squat

Land Mines With a Twist

Dead Man Land Mines