Rugby players generally fall into one of two camps when selecting exercises:
Camp 1) Thinks the only thing that matters is the squat, bench, and deadlift.
Camp 2) Focus’s on “specificity” at the expense of effectiveness.
Let’s find some middle-ground.
Here’s my best exercises for rugby players after 10+ years of coaching:
You compete in a running based sport, run.
2. Bent-leg knee flexion
i.e. Nordics, swiss ball hamstring curls, machine leg curls.
Reduce hamstring injuries, the most prevalent injury in contact sports.
i.e. RDL, Good morning, deadlift.
Develops robust hamstrings and backs, whilst building the base of power – the posterior chain.
4. Direct Shank Work
i.e. weighted tibialis raises, single-leg calf raises, balance work.
Ferraris don’t run on flat tires.
The stronger your lower limbs, the greater force you can put into the ground.
i.e. front squat, back squat, Hatfield Split Squats
6. Direct Neck Work
i.e. plate neck flexion, isometric holds, rotational band work
Strong necks cash cheques.
For every 1% increase in neck strength, risk of concussion goes down 5%.
i.e. Zercher, farmers, suitcase.
Develops “contact strength” like no other exercises.
8. Direct trunk work
i.e. standing roll-outs, dragon flags, L-sits
Supplement a holistic programme. The foundation of great things.
9. Plyometrics and jumps
i.e. pogo jumps, lateral bounds, weighted jumps.
Different directions, different speeds. Develop elasticity and power.
i.e. Rows, pull-ups, inverted rows.
Armour building for the back of the body.
Greater armour = greater hit absorbing potential.
i.e. bench press, overhead press, landmine press
Armour building for the front of the body.
i.e. bear crawls, rolls, crab crawls
Develop body awareness, shoulder health, contact skills, and breakdown skills.
If you want to read what kind of strength levels we expect in these exercises: read this.