Training tips for rugby players

Dave Giloi, a professional Personal Trainer and Director of Body Excel Gym. Dave trains the members of the False Bay Rugby Club.He offers some training tips for rugby players.


The biggest mistake most rugby players make is to follow a body building or bulking programme all the time. There is a size and often an ego component to rugby which drives such rugby players to focus their efforts entirely on building muscle mass.

The necessity of muscle size and bulk does mean that there is a place for such training in a rugby players program but it cannot form the entire program and the results of such training can reduce speed, power and mobility of a rugby player, which are all vital components of rugby fitness.


Normally after a season a player will rest and lightly cross train to recover from the season. Thereafter, training intensity and volume is gradually increased and generally toward the end of a year (for South African Club Rugby players), bulk training is introduced.

After a while, components such as strength, power and power endurance are purposefully and sequentially trained leading up to a season. Right before your season starts the training should very closely mimic the demands of the game.

Focus on quality over quantity


Movements that are necessary for rugby are the ones that need to be focused on. A good balance of strength across various joints and movements is crucial to avoid injury and to maximise performance.

Grip strength, neck strength, core strength, rotational strength, knee shock absorbers, rotator cuff muscles and lateral movement are some examples of areas that should be trained for rugby players wanting long and productive careers.


More is not always better. Record your sessions, focus on quality movement, posture, technique and appropriate progression. Not necessarily just lifting the heaviest weight possible every time you train, for as long as possible.

To get to the top level takes proper, scientific, smart progression. Rest is crucial to get stronger so use your rest days properly and rest after a tough season to prepare for the tough training to come.


Source: Dave Giloi, a professional Personal Trainer and Director of Body Excel Gym. Contact Dave at 073 427 9499 or email  

(Health24, July 2010)

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