Rugby Strength Training - Essential Exercises! – Garage Strength

Rugby Strength Training - Essential Exercises!

Increasing leg power production for the sport of rugby is a must. Rugby is a sport where athletes have to be explosive, strong, mobile, and able to react very quickly. When rugby athletes start to think about training in the weight room, they need to first consider what position they will be playing. After that consideration, athletes can think about how much hypertrophy is needed. A hooker needs to be bigger, a half a little smaller with more skill.

But that is the beauty of this workout! It can be done with any athlete playing rugby.

1. Maurus Tempo Back Squat

The Maurus tempo back squat has a nice controlled eccentric that leads into a rapid muscular action right out of the hole. This then repeated for two to three reps. The key is going right into the next rep immediately upon finishing at the top of the squat. The reps need to be performed right away.

Do four to five sets for two to three reps. The movement will improve hip mobility and dynamic trunk control. In addition, it will also enhance overall leg strength. Now taking sixty to ninety seconds between sets, go ahead and add weight to the bar. The nervous system will wake up the body into feeling stronger.

The control during the eccentric will help to really stimulate the nervous system. The quick turnover at the bottom will help improve positions in the movement as well. The stretch-shortening cycle will also feel really, really good, prepping athletes for the remainder of the workout. 

2. Dumbbell Jumps To Bounds To Box Jump

Training rugby at Garage Strength, we like to think similarly to American football and lacrosse. We want to train bilaterally and unilaterally from an explosive aspect. That gives us this more complex movement as a series of jumps.

The jump series starts with dumbbells being held in the hands as if performing a farmer’s carry. We want to then perform three rapid vertical jumps, minimizing the time our body spends on the ground while also maximizing height. After the three dumbbell jumps, we will then in a fluid motion drop the dumbbells and perform two bounds in succession. After landing the second bound, we will conclude the jump series with an immediate leap up onto a low box.

This series of jumps require a little bit of change direction. We want to perform two to three sets of this first series of jumping movements. We want to pair this series with our next movement. So rest thirty to forty seconds and then go ahead and perform the next movement as a super-set.

3. Side Jump Lunge To A Box

In a lunge position, we want to jump, move laterally, and land on a box. We want to perform two to three sets of two to three reps to each side.

The key aspect behind training unilaterally is trying to pick apart what side the athlete favors. By figuring out what side they favor, we can have them use the weak side first to help develop more power and strength in the legs. It also helps coaches identify which side the athlete struggles to create a lot of power.

4. Seated Hurdle Hops

Because rugby athletes are larger, we want to make sure the quality of the work is high to increase the power.

Again, we will utilize jumps to develop lower body strength and power. This first movement, the seated hurdle hops, in this pairing is a bilateral movement. The hurdle hops distance is extending between each jump and hurdle. This means the brain, while jumping, needs to calculate how long and how high to jump each successive movement. These are mental calculations that are always in play during sports performance.

Complete two to three sets of three hurdle hops. We will then pair the seated hurdle hops with our next unilateral movement.

5. Side Band Jump

Anchoring a band, we recommend the trusty PowerLastic band, to an immovable object strapped around the body, we then jump laterally out and back in, pausing in the landing position. 

What is happening while getting pulled in by the band, athletes need to plant and hold, being stable with solid dynamic trunk control. Then we drive out to really attack that lateral explosive work.


Start by pushing the squats a little bit. Then hit the two pairings of bilateral and unilateral jumps. Just make sure to take enough rest between sets to help with performing quality work. Remember, this is serious explosive work that goes a long way to improving strength and power.


Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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