This website uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more by viewing our privacy and cookie policy.

What Is Strength Training?

Strength training has been a major part of rugby players’ conditioning regimes for the past 15 years. The advantages of strength training are manifold. Discrepancies between players can lead to one side being overrun by the other in the scrum and the collision. Later in the game the extra effort that has been used to contain a stronger team can cause defensive errors that permit the stronger side to make runaway scores. As well as being vulnerable in the last quarter of the game, tired and weak players also appear to be more susceptible to injuries.

England player Joe Worsley taking part in an England rugby strength training session

Photo: Getty Images

Strength training involves training the body or part of the body against resistance. That resistance can take any of the following forms:

  • Free weights
  • Machines
  • Medicine balls
  • Sand bags
  • Kettle bells and other odd objects
  • Sleds
  • Harnesses
  • Uphill runs
  • Bodyweight exercises
  • Partner-resisted exercises
  • Plyometrics
  • Bands and tubing

Strength training delivers the following benefits for rugby players:

  • Injury prevention (particularly in strengthening those joints and muscles that have been shown to cause most time lost, i.e. shoulder, knee and hamstring)
  • Increasing size (hypertrophy)
  • Increasing strength
  • Increasing power

See RFU Strength Programmes under Training.