Rugby Strength Training: A Formula For Getting Strong(er)

Getting stronger for rugby shouldn’t be complicated. But it is extremely important to develop as it is a foundational quality for all others to be developed from. Here is a formula to give you a framework to base your strength training on so you know you can reach your strength goals.

((CE +75-90% x 3-5 x 3-5) x 2-4) x Consistency = STRONG(ER)

OK, but what does it all mean?! Let us explain!

Rugby Strength Training: A Formula For Getting Stronger

((CE +75-90% x 3-5 x 3-5) x 2-4) x Consistency = STRONG(ER)

CE = Compound Exercises


The best exercises to use a big compound exercises, which allow steady continual progress. Think about it. You can increase the load on a squat or deadlift for years but with a bicep curl or lateral raise you will hit a plateau within weeks!

Best exercises:



Olympic Lifts



Chins & Dips

((CE +75-90% x 3-5 x 3-5) x 2-4) x Consistency = STRONG(ER)

+75-90% = The Best Intensity of 1RM for getting stronger


You can get stronger with most loads so long as you apply progression to what you’re doing, especially as a beginner. For more advanced athletes and best results you should lift around 80% of 1RM but a range of 75-90% allows for some variety.

((CE +75-90% x 3-5 x 3-5) x 2-4) x Consistency = STRONG(ER)

x 3-5 x 3-5 = Sets and Reps 

rugby strength training a formula for getting stronger

Again research has shown you can progress with any rep range but for maximum strength gains the best results are with 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps. And just through experience most successful set rep schemes are hold true to this.

Best Set Rep Schemes:







((CE +75-90% x 3-5 x 3-5) x 2-4) x Consistency = STRONG(ER)

x 2-4 = Weekly Frequency


When training to get stronger don’t blindly follow a body part split routine from a muscle magazine. Strength training requires frequency to practice technique and allow the nervous system to adapt. Total body sessions or an upper/lower split are best for strength.

Best Training Frequency plans:

In Season:

Monday – Upper Tuesday, Lower, Thursday Total Body Saturday – Game

Tuesday – Total Body, Thursday – Total Body Saturday – Game

Out of Season:

Monday – Total Body Wednesday Total Body – Friday – Total Body

Monday – Lower Tuesday – Upper Thursday – Lower Friday/Saturday – Upper

((CE +75-90% x 3-5 x 3-5) x 2-4) x Consistency = STRONG(ER)

x Consistency = Consistent Progress

The number 1 limiting factor for getting stronger is consistency. The challenge for rugby players and coaches is to put programs and protocols in place to allow them to consistently train at the prescribed level to achieve their strength goals.

Example Program

To show you how easy it is we’ve even put a program together for you using the formula:

Session A

A: Power Clean 5 Sets x 3 Reps

B: Back Squat 4 Sets x 5 Reps

C1: Military Press 4 Sets x 5 Reps

C2: Bent Over Row 4 Sets x 5 Reps

Session B

A: Hang Snatch 3 Sets x 3 Reps

B: Deadlift 4 Sets x 3 Reps

C1: Bench Press 3 Sets x 5/4/3 Reps

C2: Close Grip Chin Ups 3 Sets x 5/4/3 Reps

If you’re in-season perform session A on Monday/Tuesday and Session B on Thursday. If you’re in the off/preseason just rotate through sessions A and B so week one you perform Session A twice and Session B once and then week two Session B twice and Session A once. Stick with the program for 6-8 weeks and train with consistent progression of load on the bar and you’re sure to get stronger.


A great strength coach once said to me “if we locked the players in the gym and left them on their own they’d get stronger!” especially if there is a competitive environment. And once you’ve achieved a certain level of maximum strength there are diminishing returns on further strength gains.

That doesn’t mean strength isn’t important it just means once we have got to that level we need to focus on other physical qualities to improve performance on the field eg. Power, speed, agility and explosiveness!

Use the above formula to plan your strength training and before you know it strength won’t by a limiting factor, it will be your ally!

((CE +75-90% x 3-5 x 3-5) x 2-4) x Consistency = STRONG(ER)

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