Rugby Conditioning for Youth

Rugby Conditioning for Youth

Legends are classic examples of leaders and path-creators. Especially for rugby legends who have defined the odds and got to where they are today. Despite the basic setbacks, there are various players who still play at the international standards and go down in history as being excellent and truly match-winners.

Reaching to this excellence is not an easy task and it takes hard work, determination, and even a whole set of balls – literally in all senses. There are ways to you can improve your rugby skills and even change the fundamental game play of rugby.

Improving Rugby Skills regarding Passing

Without the concept of passing, rugby would end up being a boring sport. Nobody really likes a one-man show. It is all about playing games at a decent level. For players, it is the need to deliver various kinds of effective passes in various situations.

One of the common ways to improve rugby skills like the accuracy of your passes is to place various kinds of targets on the wall and pass the ball to each of the target. It is obviously trying to reach the target as close as possible.

The key is simply repetition. Not many people know that professional rugby players simply practice passing for about 2.5 – 3 hours each day. Of course, most of us don’t have the time to improve our rugby skills in this manner. Sometimes you might not have time on your team. In such case, there is something that can help you.

Various studies and research show that rubbing vapour balm on your temples and wrist will increase the accuracy of the performance. By doing this, it will improve your blood flow to the brain as well as increase it. Hence, it will make you more alert. Now whether this can be considered as scientific or simply the work of the placebo effect, if it really improves your rugby skills, then it is worth a try.

Improving Rugby Skills Regarding Running

Like passing, running is very much fundamental to rugby. Else, the game will be just a lot like Netball, expect with the only disadvantage of the person holding the ball. There are certain specialized skills that one needs to have while playing rugby and these include changing direction and pace whilst being balanced.

Frankly, this is very much important before the contact situation starts. For improving skills like these, one should incorporate multi-directional running for warmups and even running skills each week. There are certain exercises that consist of multi-directional cone work or the speed endurance used with an agility ladder.

For optimizing speed, or the basic ability to modify pace, you really need to make sure that your muscle fire up optimally. For the improvement of the firing of the muscles, it is recommended to use a muscle rub for speeding up the warmup process and even optimizing muscle performance. Frankly, this allows one to get to the required and marginal gains by running, and even being able to improvise rugby skills in various other areas.

Improving Rugby Skills on Tackling

The star skills of rugby are tackling. Frankly, it is something that defines rugby. Here the overall target needs to be that all players are competent in tackling especially in one-on-one situations. Frankly, this is the reason why tackling must be included or at least be present in every training session.

For improving rugby skills, like tackling, it is necessary and useful if players are placed in various situations. Now this is the best way for varying the tackling methods. As previously stated, tackling is one of the fundamental skills in the game of rugby and it can even be dangerous too.

If tackling is done in an incorrect manner, it will lead to serious injuries. In the same way, improving the rugby skills will result in sore and stiff muscles. This will simply prevent you from training to your best potential the next day. For making sure that you improve your rugby skills, it is recommended to wash your body with a cool body wash. This will assist in making your muscles recover in a faster way so that you can get back to training much sooner than expected.

What Training You Need to Do For Making Your Tackling Better?

For a good tackle, one needs robust and powerful legs along with core strength and shoulder stability. Here, it will produce and give optimal force transference right from the tackler to the target, where the risk of injury will be minimized. Now if any of the links are weak, then the tackle will be very much less effective.

Lower Body Strength & Power

There are various studies done by exercise scientists. It revealed that the ability of tackling is somewhat closely related to lower body strength as well as power. Now an increase in the 1RM squat is even accompanied by increasing the tackling performance.

Frankly, this makes a lot of sense as the lower body is a major player that can generate force through the tackle. Most importantly, a good tackle will start with your leg drive. For developing power and strength for tackling, ruggers must base their workouts right around the following exercises even while training to increase or at least maintain the 1RM.

  • Barbell back and front squats along with variations
  • Romanian dead lifts
  • Dead lifts
  • Box jumps
  • Power cleans
  • Squat jumps

In order to get the best results, one must follow a good power training and periodized strength training program. If you are not sure where to start, then you can always ask your coach or fitness trainer.

Core Strength

Here lack of core strength means that when you are tackling, some of the major force will be generated right from your legs and it will never make it to your target. Rather, it will get dissipated to your midsection, thereby resulting in an injury.

A robust core will make sure that your spine remains properly aligned and even rigid. Hence all the tacking force will reach the intended player even while keeping your spine stable. Now keep in mind that rugby players need a good amount of all-around core strength.

Frankly, it is not necessary to be the king of weighted crunches or the so-called sit-ups workout routines. Here these exercises imply work on the front or anterior of your core. It is important that you need posterior (rear), lateral (side) and even rotational of the core strength.

Even in various exercisers, there are chances for ruggers to commit huge amount of mistakes regarding doing various kind of high-rep core training. Of course, this will assist in increasing the local muscle endurance. It won’t do a lot of good for what you really need, which is really strength. Here the basic core impact in the tackle comes at an instant and it is very intense. Just by doing sets of 50-70 crunches will not help prepare your muscles for this kind of onslaught.

Subsequently, make sure you train your core the way you need it to perform on the field – with heavy loads, relatively few reps (5-10) and progressive overload to ensure they continue to get stronger.

It is important that you make sure exercises contain all aspects of core strength in your strength training program. Here good core exercises for ruggers consists:

  • Pot stirrers
  • Full contact twists
  • Barbell roll outs
  • Single arm suitcase carries
  • Medicine ball throws

Stability of Shoulder

If you are wrapping your arms in a proper manner, you will be taking a lot of the stress of the tackle off your shoulders. But, still even then you will end up taking most of the impact through your shoulders. Now exercises that will strengthen and increase your shoulder stability and will reduce your chances of getting injured.

Your shoulders are a complex joint capable of a wide range of motion. They are also the most commonly injured joint in rugby. Building rugby-proof shoulders requires more than overhead pressing, although that is a good exercise for developing strong deltoids. Stability comes from strengthening the deep shoulder muscles, known as the rotator cuff.

Good rotator cuff exercises for shoulder stability include:

  • Inward shoulder rotation with band
  • Face pulls
  • Poor man’s shoulder horn
  • Band pull apart
  • L-flyes
  • Cuban press

For being a successful rugby player, irrespective of which position you are, it is important that you be a good tackler. Keep in mind that a poor tackler is nothing, but a liability and a missed or ineffective tackle will make a huge difference in losing or winning. It is important that you practice the skills of tackling in a proper and regular manner for training your body so that it does not hit hard, however, you can recover in a quick manner right from the impact.

Mental Preparation for Rugby

The following are the ways on how to get yourself into the zone for training as well as playing rugby.

Creating A Pre-Game Routine

No doubt, routines can simply get you into the right mindset for rugby. Following a good routine will remove the guesswork right out of the pregame preparations and provide you with a good amount of confidence. If your previous pre-game routine led to success, then it is only reasonable to expect the same thing with the given outcome.

For example, some of the major routines are:

  • Put on your playing gear
  • Arrive at the venue with plenty of time to spare
  • Warm up
  • Tape up
  • Practice your passing, kicks, line outs, etc
  • Hydrate
  • Hear to pre-game team talks

Keep in mind that routines are not simply limited to playing rugby. They can even be useful in your gym session too. It is all about using the same setup and the pre-lift routine for your gym-based workouts with regard to big lifts like dead lifts, squats, cleans and bench presses.

Making A Pump-Up Playlist

Music is a great stress buster and it can have a huge impact on your mental health. With the correct choice of music, you can feel energized, inspired and motivated to train as well as play at your best. With the most of online music platforms you can easily embrace your nerves.

If you are nervous, it is often termed as a negative effect. However, the flood of Adrenalin is what you really need to be at your best. You really need to anticipate and embrace your nerves, which involves imaging such feeling of anxiety, which is not more than increasing your level of energy.


Now irrespective of whether you are about to play rugby or training, a few minutes of visualization of successful performance will easily prepare you mentally. Just for example while you are driving towards your gym, you can envision yourself maxing out in a perfect form and even completing each set in the workout. Here just before the game, you need to see yourself tackling, scoring, passing and kicking like a boss.

A mental rehearsing of the successful game just before hand will provide you with the necessary confidence in your abilities and even improve your performance. Here, no matter of what you are visualizing, it is important that you make the scenario as realistic as possible. All you must do is imagine details like sounds, sights and feelings.

Wrapping Up

Rugby is a competitive sport and unlike other ones, you really need to do extensive training. It is physical one and excelling in it might require some exercises, motivation and even stamina. If you are really planning to excel in rugby, you can follow the various instructions given in this article.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and try these. However, you do need to consult your rugby coach and fitness trainer before jumping into any of the above given exercises and details. Getting their opinions might be a good thing too.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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