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Rugby Fitness & Conditioning
A ground-breaking approach to
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The most important principle in strength and power training is correct technique.
Technique should never be sacrificed for level of resistance, experimentation, or speed of movement.

All strength and power exercises should be learnt and taught like a skill
Similar to kicking or passing, correct technique leads to success and prevention of injury. Players should seek the supervision of a qualified Fitness or Weight Lifting Instructor.

  • Breathing correctly during resistance training is vital for healthy blood distribution - the lifter should inhale prior to and during the lowering phase and exhale during the lifting phase.
  • Avoid holding your breath - this raises blood pressure and restricts blood flow to the heart and resultant 'dizziness'

Guiding and 'spotting' is crucial and should be applied to all exercises.
It is common to see a lifter being spotted during a bench press but how often do you see it for a pull-up, squat, or bicep curl!? The principles are the same - correct body alignment and recruitment of core stabilisers should be encouraged, plus close support to prevent loss of control. Close spotting is essential during dumbell exercises, which require greater control compared to barbell exercises. Incorrect lifting and spotting techniques can lead to serious injury.

To adhere to correct technique, exercises must be performed through a full range of movement. This means moving the resistance to the end ranges of the muscle and leads to better and safer strength gains.

Two factors to consider here include single arm and leg exercises and equal training of opposing muscles. In the first instance, exercising each arm and leg seperately (unilateral) avoids domination and variances in strength between limbs. For example, a single leg squat or leg press may replace a double leg squat or leg press (bilateral) to ensure that one leg isn't generating more force than the other during a lift.

You should aim to train opposing muscles equally.
If you were to train the quadriceps exclusively and ignore the hamstrings, you are increasing your chances of injury - the quadriceps would probably become too strong for the hamstrings during sprinting and result in poor running technique and muscle damage.

To develop strength and power you need to overload the muscles i.e. work them against resistance. This resistance should be progressive in terms of the load and speed of movement, particularly while technique is developing.

Work to a point of fatigue, not failure

Recent research and position statements from governing bodies confirm that children can benefit from a well designed and supervised resistance training programme.For specific information on strength and power training for players below the age of 18 please visit the Academy section.



Improved strength is the single best way to improve a players speed
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The squat is the 'King' of strength training - it improves leg strength that transfers to improved running speed and power. You do not need to squat heavy weights to gain real benefits.