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:

1. Sprint

 You compete in a running based sport, run.

Speed kills.

 2. Bent-leg knee flexion

 i.e. Nordicsswiss ball hamstring curls, machine leg curls.

Reduce hamstring injuries, the most prevalent injury in contact sports.

3. Hinge

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 raisessingle-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.

5. Squat

 i.e. front squat, back squatHatfield Split Squats

Enough said.

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%.

7. Carry

 i.e. Zercher, farmers, suitcase.

Develops “contact strength” like no other exercises.

8. Direct trunk work

i.e. standing roll-outsdragon flagsL-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.

10. Pull

i.e. Rowspull-upsinverted rows.

Armour building for the back of the body.

Greater armour = greater hit absorbing potential.

11. Push

 i.e. bench pressoverhead presslandmine press

Armour building for the front of the body.

12. Crawl/Roll

i.e. bear crawlsrollscrab 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.

Are you a contact athlete? Do you want a free in-season programme? Get your free in-season Game Ready Programme here – Game Ready: The Inseason Training Programme