Rugby is a physically demanding sport that requires strength, speed, agility, and endurance. To excel on the field, you need to be in peak physical condition. In this blog, we will discuss effective fitness drills that will help you get fit for rugby and improve your overall performance. Whether you're a seasoned player or just starting, these 8 exercises will help you reach your full potential on the field.

Interval Sprints

Rugby is a game of high-intensity bursts followed by short recovery periods. Interval sprints are an excellent way to simulate this and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Start by sprinting at maximum effort for 20 seconds, followed by a 40-second recovery jog. Repeat this process for a total of 10 sets. As your fitness improves, increase the sprint duration and decrease the recovery time.

Shuttle Runs

Shuttle runs help improve agility, speed, and endurance. Set up cones at 5, 10, and 15 meters apart. Start at the first cone and sprint to the second cone, then back to the first cone. Next, sprint to the third cone and back to the first cone. Complete this sequence as quickly as possible and repeat for a total of 6 sets, resting for 60 seconds between each set.

Squat Jumps

Squat jumps are a plyometric exercise that develops explosive power in the lower body, essential for rugby players. Begin in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Jump as high as possible, extending your legs and arms upwards. Land softly back into the squat position and immediately jump again. Perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions, resting for 60 seconds between sets.

Medicine Ball Slams

Medicine ball slams are a full-body exercise that improves upper body strength, core stability, and power. Hold a medicine ball with both hands and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise the ball overhead, fully extending your arms. Slam the ball down to the ground as hard as possible, engaging your core and using your entire body. Pick up the ball and repeat for 3 sets of 8 repetitions, resting for 60 seconds between sets.

Tackle Bag Drives

Tackle bag drives help rugby players develop the strength and technique required for effective tackling. Position a tackle bag on the ground and assume a low, strong body position. Drive into the bag, lifting it off the ground, and continue driving forward for 5 meters. Perform 3 sets of 5 repetitions, resting for 60 seconds between sets.

Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are a challenging exercise that improves leg strength, power, and cardiovascular fitness. Find a steep hill and sprint up it for 30 seconds, focusing on maintaining good form and driving your knees high. Walk back down the hill to recover and repeat for a total of 6 sets, resting for 60 seconds between each set.

Plank Variations

A strong core is essential for rugby players, as it provides stability and power during tackles, scrums, and rucks. Incorporate plank variations into your training routine to target different areas of your core. Perform a standard plank, side plank, and reverse plank, holding each position for 1 minute. Rest for 30 seconds between each variation and complete 3 sets.


Burpees are a full-body exercise that improves strength, endurance, and agility. Begin in a standing position and drop into a squat, placing your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back into a plank position, perform a push-up, and then jump your feet back to the squat position. Jump up, extending your arms overhead, and land softly. Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions, resting for 60 seconds between sets.

Incorporating these effective fitness drills into your rugby training program will help you get fit and improve your overall performance on the field. Remember to always warm up properly before starting any exercise and consult with a coach or trainer to ensure you are using the correct technique. With dedication and hard work, you'll be well on your way to becoming a stronger, faster, and more agile rugby player.

See more resources: 

May 09, 2023 — Peter Breen

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.