Rugby Renegade Machine Maker: The Ultimate Rugby Workout

Here at Rugby Renegade we are renowned for creating kick ass rugby workouts and training sessions that genuinely build machines. Some of our most fun, challenging and beneficial workouts are our metabolic conditioning sessions. When it comes to metabolic conditioning for rugby we think we have hit the nail on the head!

We provide a huge variety of sessions to our members but we have developed a powerful formula for writing metcon workouts that are based on over three years of programming and results. It is easy to implement and leaves room for massive variety to keep you enthused and challenged, so you keep getting better.

We call it the Rugby Renegade Machine Maker!

Rugby Fitness Workout – Renegade Machine Maker

Where it Began…

The Machine Maker workout was developed through trial and error. We were looking for a session that would give you that feeling you get after multiple phases in a game, a worst case scenario so to speak. It had to be physically tough and challenge the energy systems maximally.

Some sessions hit the target and others didn’t quite, but over time we noticed commonalities of the workouts that did. They were as follows…

Starting with Full Body Explosive Exercise


You hit the full body explosive first when you are fresh so you can produce the most amount of force possible. It is also safer as these are usually the most technically challenging exercises. For instance the olympic lifts and strongman exercises work great here.

Alternating Upper & Lower Body Exercises

This works on two fronts. Firstly the short recovery the lower body gets whilst working the upper body allows for greater force production when you subsequently come back to a lower body exercise. Secondly the cardiovascular system has to work hard to shuttle the blood from the lower to the upper extremities to get the work done. Stick to basic compound movements here.

Finishing with Short Intense Cardio Hit

Following the physical work you will be gasping but now you have to work hard for a slightly longer duration (usually 30s but its flexible). Occasionally try starting with this to get used to working hard with an oxygen debt, the downside to that way is reduced performance on the lifting but it can be good for mental toughness. Regular CV exercises like Rowing and WattBike work great as do Prowlers and Farmers Walks etc.

Having Sufficient Rest

How long you rest will depend on what your are trying to achieve but we found that at least 1min between each round is minimum. The rest allows you to maintain power output and keep work rate high. Remember you want to train yourself to maintain a high work rate and power output during a game so the best way to achieve that is to get used to it in training!

Some variations we’ve tried have been having each exercise in a different corner of the gym so you get a walking recovery between each exercise or starting each exercise on 30s. Conversely if you want more of a metabolic hit just go through all exercises as fast as possible and rest at the end of the round.

Machine Maker Workout Formula:

Through our experience and experiments the below formula is the best metabolic conditioning tool we have used for rugby.

A1: Explosive Total Body Exercise x5

A2: Upper Body Push Exercise x10

A3:Lower Body Exercise x10

A4:Upper Body Pull Exercise x10

A5: Cardio Exercise x30s ish!

Rest 60-120s

Example Rugby Workout:

A1: Thruster x5

A2: Pull Ups x10

A3:Deadlift x10

A4: One Arm DB Bench x5 (each arm)

A5: Concept 2 Row x150m

Rest 90s

x5 Rounds

Notice that because you start with thrusters I went for pull ups as the second exercise to give the pressing muscles a break and went with deadlifts to hit the posterior chain. The options are almost endless with the Machine Maker.

Here’s a list of exercises for each category so you can make your own rugby workouts:

Explosive Total BodyUpper Body PushUpper Body PullLower BodyCardio Hit
ThrustersOne Arm DB BenchPull UpsDeadlift150m Row
Clean & JerkPly Push UpsSingle Arm RowGoblet Squat2x20m Prowler
Tyre FlipsDipsDB JackalStep Ups30s WattBike
Power SnatchBench PressSingle Arm Sled PullBarbell Hip ThrustFarmers Walk
Clean & Front SquatMilitary PressSupine RowWalking Lunges5/10/15m Shuttle

That alone gives you 3,125 possible sessions and there are so many other exercise options you can use too.

Wrap Up!

Perform the Machine Maker often enough and you will get used to producing high power outputs and a high work rate which will carryover to your game play. Give these types of workouts a go and you will soon be a machine!

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