Rugby is a hard physical sport, and for players to be successful they will need to have a high level of fitness. In this article I will look at some different methods players can use to prepare themselves for a season of rugby. I will focus on fitness work during three different phases of the year: Off Season, Pre Season, and During the Season.

Off Season

This is the period starting from the end of the previous season. It is important for any athlete to have rest, however, it is also key to keep fitness levels at a good level, so the player doesn’t have to start from scratch again at the start of the season. Players need to work on a range of areas including muscle building, endurance, and to use interval training to emulate the rapid bursts of energy used in a game of rugby.

Rugby Fitness Training Schedule

  • Monday – Weight Training – Gym work, Builds player strength. Exercises could include: Triceps Extensions, Pull Downs, Butterflies Leg Curls, Military Presses, Deltoid Lifts, Biceps Curls, and Leg Extensions.
  • Tuesday – Interval Training – Emulates game fitness. Short sharp burst of energy, with intervals of rest. Sprint, rowing , swimming or cycling can be used for variety.
  • Wednesday – Weight Training
  • Thursday – Interval Training
  • Friday – Rest
  • Saturday – Any Sports Activity – An off season sport such as touch rugby is helpful here. It’s important to remember always that sport should be fun.
  • Sunday – Long Slow Distance – A nice long jog or cycle will help with overall endurance levels.

Pre Season

In the period leading up to a season the Saturday session needs to be replaced with more rugby specific exercise. Most teams will form during this period. As Saturday is the most likely day you will be playing during the season, it is good practice, to get a players body into the habit of dealing with higher levels of activity on this day. So a high intensity anaerobic workout is necessary. A good way to monitor player fitness pre-season is to use a beep test. We have a free rugby beep test available to download if you are in need of one.

During Season

During the season Tuesday and Thursday sessions will be replaced with team training. If you have a roll in running team trainings it is important to remember that most player injuries occur during direct player to player contact. So although it’s important to get players used to physical activity involved in rugby, it is a matter of finding a medium someone between hard out bone crunching sessions…and sessions where players only use hit shields and pads.

Categories: Rugby Coaching.

Author : Simon Ward

Author's Website | Articles from

The creator of RugbyCoaching.net, and a rugby enthusiast from Hamilton New Zealand.

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Tom williams

    hi .thanks a lot for these articles.i want to start playing rugby at 20 old .still some chances to play proffesionnal rugby ??

  2. Sure Tom, get fit, and get to your local rugby club and see how it goes. There’s no reason why you can’t start a rugby career at 20.

Reply to “Rugby Fitness Training”