When you are looking at choosing a training program for rugby, there are a few questions you want to consider, but there is one we suggest every athlete, coach, or parent take into consideration before heading to the gym or track:

“Am I doing these exercises to improve my skills on the pitch? Or am I just trying to get bigger, stronger or faster because it might help my game?”

When we look into the huge selection of rugby training programs out there, many will make you bigger, faster and stronger, but they likely won’t make you skilful.

At Rugby Bricks, we discuss the details of skills because that makes players stand out on game day. Damian MacKenzie, Marcus Smith, Aaron Cruden, Faf De Clerk, Aaron Smith are all small players.

Aaron Smith taking a shot at goal of a Rugby Bricks tee

They have all started for their countries because of their skills, not their size. Size, power and speed are important in rugby, but they are nothing without skills.

Anyone can put on muscle, but not everyone can deliver a pass on point, convert when it counts or jackal when it matters.

We’ve got a huge range of skills programs you can look at here at Rugby Bricks. We also created a solo skills video during the pandemic that requires only a rugby ball and one metre of space. You can watch it below:

Now without further ado, let’s jump into the critical factors when deciding on the best rugby training program for you.

1. Goals

What are your goals for your training? Do you want to improve your strength, endurance, speed, or a combination of these? Your training program should be tailored to your specific goals.

2. Experience

Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced rugby player? A beginner training program will differ from one for an advanced player.

3. Time commitment

How much time do you have to commit to training? A program that requires a lot of time may not be feasible for someone with a busy schedule or a high training volume and schedule.

4. Equipment

What equipment do you have access to? Your training program should be designed around the equipment that you have available if you’ve got a whole gym, great. If you only have got your local pitch, then you’ll need to reconsider what you can do.

5. Access to coaches

Are you going at this on your own or with a trainer? Do you have experience designing and implementing training programs, or do you need help from a coach or trainer?

Here is a generic program that can be used for anytime of the year to support your rugby training.  

Week 1:

Day Exercise Sets Repetitions Weight (kg) Rest (seconds)
1 Squats 3 8 - 60
Bench press 3 8 - 60
Rows 3 8 - 60
2 Lunges 3 8 (per side) - 60
Overhead press 3 8 - 60
Planks 3 1 minute - 60
3 Deadlifts 3 8 - 60
Push-ups 3 8 - 60
Russian twists 3 15 (per side) - 60
4 Rest - - - -

Week 2:

Day Exercise Sets Repetitions Weight (kg) Rest (seconds)
1 Squats 4 6 - 60
Bench press 4 6 - 60
Rows 4 6 - 60
2 Lunges 4 6 (per side) - 60
Overhead press 4 6 - 60
Planks 4 45 seconds - 60
3 Deadlifts 4 6 - 60
Push-ups 4 6 - 60
Russian twists 3 15 (per side) - 60
4 Rest - - - -

Week 3:

Day Exercise Sets Repetitions Weight (kg) Rest (seconds)
1 Squats 2 10 - 60
Bench press 2 10 - 60
Rows 2 10 - 60
2 Lunges 2 10 (per side) - 60
Overhead press 2 10 - 60
Planks 3 1 minute - 60
3 Deadlifts 2 10 - 60
Push-ups 4 15 - 60
Russian twists 3 15 (per side) - 60


You can cycle this in and out based on your needs and training volume alongside rugby or whatever other activities you are doing. On your fourth week sit down and assess what your feeling like and then look for a more specific program. 

With all of this in mind, we’ve got a whole range of programs we're building that you can pick up for free. We’ll constantly update our library of rugby training programs in blogs and as downloadable PDFs. We will link to them in this post as we create them. 

If you want us to build any specific programs or have any questions, throw them in the comments.

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