As the Rugby World Cup continues and the season starts to get underway, you may be looking to improve your strength and conditioning training in the gym. The key is to understand the demands on your body within this sport and the important elements that will affect your technique out on the pitch.

The basic movement patterns that are needed when playing rugby are:

Squat, Bend, Push, Pull, Twist and Single Leg

When performing skills out on the pitch, these movements are grouped together in different combinations.  For example, scrummaging (squat, bend and push), rucking (squat, bend, push, pull) and mauling (squat, single leg, push, pull).

Focusing on these key patterns in training will allow the movements to come easily when the pressure is on in a game. 

Below we have summarised the importance of the six key moves and suggested strength and conditioning exercises to target each.  


This will be a core move throughout your rugby game. Squats build strength in the legs, hips and core, whilst also developing balance and flexibility. By strengthening the hips, knees and ankles they can help you avoid injury and ensure correct alignment. 


Back Squat 

Front squat

Overhead Squat


Building strength in the upper body will give you a head start in the game. There are two forms of push – horizontal (arms in front of the chest) and vertical (arms above the head) and they can be done with one hand or two.


Jammer Press

Bench Press

Arnold Shoulder Press

Overhead Press


An upper body movement pulling the body towards something or pulling something towards the body.  Again, this can be horizontal or vertical and one hand or two.


Pull Ups

Supine Pull


The nature of the game requires you to do a lot of bending out on the pitch; picking up of the ball, tackling, scrummaging and rucking. This is one of the most common causes of injury, specifically back pain, so keeping the correct technique when bending is important with a natural curve in the lower back and keep those shoulders squeezed back together.  


Romanian Deadlift

Good Morning


Every time you pass the ball in rugby your body will be twisting so ensure you cover strength and conditioning for this movement.  


Medicine Ball Twists

Push Up and Rotate


Single Leg

There will be endless running during a rugby game, so building that single leg strength will give you the ability to power on through.


Step up

Bulgarian Split Squat


One Leg Squat

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift


Mastering the technique in each individual area means you can then start combining them to work in patterns that will naturally occur during a game. 


Deadlift – Pull & Bend

Powerclean – Pull, Bend, Squat

Glute Band – Squat & Push

Press/Push Press/Jerk – Push, Squat

Burpee – Push, Bend, Squat

It is also important to think about lateral side to side movements to aid agility.


Side to side lunges.

Speed skaters.

Side to side jump onto a BOSU Ball for stability training. Single or double legged.

Super Sets

A superset is a form of strength training in which you perform two exercises back to back with minimal or no rest in between. This effectively doubles the amount of work you are doing and increases strength, power and muscle growth potential.


Squats – Speed ladders.

Cleans – Burpees.

Bench press – BOSU Ball medicine ball throw. 

Please get in touch if you’d like to come and have a look around our fully equipped gym in the village and find out more about our membership packages and personal training sessions. 

Helping you live your healthiest and happiest life. Revival Health & Wellbeing Centre offers a variety of treatments, clinics, counselling and holistic therapies from our specialist team of practitioners.

Please contact us on 01386 792 126 to discuss your consultation.