Strength and Conditioning Session for Rugby

It is important to consider your physical condition when training for a sport. When it comes to the Strength and Conditioning side of Rugby these two, varied, high-intensity sessions are good indicators of how you need to be training in order to achieve maximum results. This level of intensity and difficulty will enable you to perform to your full potential in an effective and applied manner. With all the key fitness aspects taken into consideration, the following sessions will look to target as many as possible:

Strength and Conditioning Session for Rugby 1: Metabolic Workout:

* Dumbbell Snatch x6 each arm

* Push Press x6

* Bent-Over Rows x6

* Medicine Ball Slams x10

* Decline Press Ups x6

* Renegade Row x6 each side

* 100m on Rowing Machine

Repeat 6 times at maximum effort, ensuring correct technique is maintained. 60 seconds rest between each set. This should take no longer than 30 minutes and is ideal if you’re still feeling the effects of a weekend game – especially in your legs!

Strength and Conditioning Session for Rugby 2: Midweek ‘Flush’ Session:

* Hang Clean & Press x3

* Dips x3

* Suspended Press-Ups x3 (On TRX Cable)

* Overhead Squat x3

* Weighted Rope Pull x6

* Medicine Ball Slams x12

* Steering Wheel x20

Repeat 6 times at maximum effort, ensuring correct technique is maintained. 60 seconds rest between each set. This should take no longer than 30 minutes. A perfect session for the development of individual strength and power, whilst also being ideal for a midweek burnout!

Strength and Conditioning Session for Rugby 3: Dynamic Bodyweight “Power” Session:

This session is based around the constant pressure on your body to go up, down, forward and back in explosive movements in Rugby Union and Rugby League. It includes a lot of ground work, a lot of standing jumps and some short sprints. These 3 exercises will be key factors in the session and should be learned so they can be performed correctly to gain the most benefit:

Exercise 1) Press Up Squat Runner

Starting from the floor with your hands below your shoulders, press up as dynamically as possible until your elbows lock out, the perform a single leg squat thrust (called a squat run/mountain climber) on each leg, before hitting the ground again and repeating.

Exercise 2) Squat Jump Up Downs

Starting from a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart, perform a deep squat into a powerful explosive jump, as your feet land, hit the floor flat on your front as fast as you can and immediately explode upwards using your arms and legs for power and stability to return to standing position and move into another squat to repeat the process.

Exercise 3) Power Push Up

Starting in a regular press up position, move your feet much closer to your hands so your bum goes into the air and your body creates a triangle shape. Then press downwards so your head is getting closer to the ground (Similar to a judo press up without the body curve). Then push yourself back upwards as dynamically as possible.

Now you understand these 3 exercise you will be able to perform this strength session efficiently. 100% effort is required throughout, utilising rest times to rehydrate and recover with deep breathing.

WARM UP: 400 metre slow jog with 5 press ups every 100 metres.

STRETCH: perform dynamic stretches to loosen your muscles and prepare them for exercise


10 Basic Squats

10 Wide Squats

10 Squat Jump Up Downs

10 Up Downs

10 Squat Jumps

Perform Twice with 2 minutes rest between first and second set.

SPRINTS: 5×20 metre short explosive sprints starting from the floor.

Then 1 minute rest before…


10 Basic Press Ups

10 Press Up Squat Runners

10 Squat Thrusts

10 Wide Press Ups

10 Power Push Ups

Perform Twice with 2 minutes rest between first and second set.

Then 2 minutes rest before…


20 Press Up Squat Runners

20 Squat Jump Up Downs

20 Power Push Ups

Once through with no rests.

Then 1 minute rest before…

SPRINT: 2×50 metres hard sprint @ 100% effort and speed starting from the floor.

COOL DOWN: 400 metres slow jog and then continuous walk until your heart rate returns to it’s regular resting rate.

STRETCH: Full body static maintenance stretches to lengthen, loosen and relax your muscles.

After performing any of these sessions it is essential that you hydrate properly and give your muscles correct nutrients to ensure they repair to their best. An ice bath is a great way to help soothe tense and strained muscles.

These workouts are about high intensity and maximum effort, with a strict focus on maintaining correct form and good technique. Rests periods must be followed accordingly, in order for muscular fatigue to be challenged and muscular development to be encouraged. Sip small amounts of water and clear sweat during rest periods. Dig in and challenge yourself!

This article is a shared piece between myself and experienced Rugby Coach and Conditioning Specialist – Tom Barker, a contributor to Matt Goddard Fitness.

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