Rugby fitness drills to boost speed, strength and agility on the field

When it comes to rugby, fitness is paramount. The demands of the game require players to possess exceptional speed, strength, agility, and endurance.

To excel on the pitch, rugby players must dedicate themselves to rigorous training that focuses on improving their overall fitness.

In this article, we will explore nine essential rugby fitness drills, divided into three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

These drills will help players enhance their physical capabilities and elevate their performance when you strap on your boots and take to the rugby field.

Beginner Drills

Tempo Running: Start on the try line, run to the halfway line, and then walk or jog to the far try line. Immediately turn and run back to the halfway line. Aim to complete 20 repetitions of this drill.

MAS Running: Begin on the try line, run to the far 10m line (60m), and stop. Each repetition should take around 15 seconds. Aim to complete 2 sets of 10 reps, with a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio and 2 minutes of recovery between sets.

22m Returns: Start on your stomach on the try line, pop to your feet, run to the 22m line, turn, and run back as fast as you can. Start each rep every 30 seconds, and aim to complete 2 sets of 8 reps, with 90 seconds of recovery between sets.

Intermediate Drills

Acceleration Ladders: Set up cones at 10m intervals up to 50m. Sprint at 100% effort during the work periods and jog during the recovery periods. Complete the following sequence:

  • Sprint 10m, jog 40m x2
  • Sprint 20m, jog 30m x2
  • Sprint 30m, jog 20m x2
  • Sprint 40m, jog 10m x2
  • Sprint to halfway and back, rest for 1 minute and then repeat. 

Malcolms: Start on your stomach at the halfway line. Run to the 10m line, complete a down-up, run through the halfway line to the other 10m line, complete another down-up, and run back to the 10m line. Start each rep every 30 seconds and aim to complete 2 sets of 10 reps, with 2 minutes of recovery between sets.

Safa 150s: Each rep starts on the try line. Complete a full length of the pitch, turn and run back another half-length to cover a total of 150m. Jog back to the try line, immediately turn and go again. Aim to complete 2 sets of 5 reps, with a 90-second recovery window between sets.

Advanced Drills

Dirt Tracks: Start on the try line on your stomach. Run out to the 5m line, back to the try line, out to the 22m line, back to the try line, and then out to the 40m line, and back to the try line, completing a down-up at each line. Complete 6 reps, starting every minute, and then repeat after a 90-second rest window.

Bronco Reps: Adapted from the Bronco test, complete individual reps with a 90-second interval until you have completed 5 single reps. Each rep consists of:

    • Run to the 20m line and back
    • Run to the 40m line and back
    • Run to the 60m line and back

L-Drill: Start in one of the four corners of the pitch. You have 30 seconds to run one full length and width of the pitch, followed by 30 seconds of rest before running back to the same corner. Each length and width is one rep. Complete 2 sets of 8 reps, with a 90-second recovery window between sets.

These nine rugby fitness drills are designed to enhance your physical capabilities and elevate your performance on the rugby field.

Whether you're a beginner looking to build a solid foundation, an intermediate player aiming to take your fitness to the next level, or an advanced athlete seeking a challenging workout, these drills cater to various skill levels.

The beginner drills focus on building endurance and gradually increasing the intensity of your runs. Tempo running, MAS running, and 22m returns provide a solid starting point for improving your cardiovascular fitness and overall stamina.

Moving on to the intermediate drills, acceleration ladders, Malcoms, and Safa 150s introduce speed and agility elements. These drills help improve your acceleration, change of direction, and anaerobic fitness, essential for maintaining a competitive edge on the rugby field.

For advanced athletes seeking an intense challenge, dirt tracks, Bronco reps, and the L-Drill deliver a high-intensity workout. These drills push your limits, testing your speed, endurance, and mental toughness. They simulate game-like scenarios and help develop the physical and mental resilience required to excel in demanding rugby matches.

Remember, it's crucial to prioritise proper warm-up and consult with a coach or fitness professional to ensure safety and suitability for your fitness level.

By incorporating these drills into your training, you can enhance your rugby fitness and meet the physical demands of the game head-on.

Consistent dedication and hard work will lead to noticeable improvements in your speed, strength, agility, and endurance, ultimately allowing you to perform at your best when it matters most - on the rugby field.

So lace up your rugby boots, hit the training pitch, and elevate your rugby fitness to new heights.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.