The Best Exercise For Rugby – You’re Not Doing!

There are many great exercises out there for improving your strength power and athleticism for rugby but one that we feel is overlooked is Prowler Pushing.

Now we’re not sure where it got the name prowler or quite why it can inflict the “prowler flu” but we have no doubt that it is effective and should be a part of any rugby players training.

In this article we will explain the benefits of prowler work and give you some ideas of how to best use them as well as alternatives…


We may as well start with the alternatives because, let’s be honest, not everyone will have access to a prowler. Whether your gym/club doesn’t have one or you cant afford one there is still great and cheap alternatives.

Plate Push

As with all of these pushing variations load will depend on what surface you are working on but a simple plate push can be a great way to finish a session. It is particularly challenging because of the low body height and like a normal prowler challenges the postural strength to transfer force from your legs through to your hands.

Tyre Push


If you have some old tyres about this is another good alternative. As you can see in the picture you can increase the difficulty by loading on plates!

Tackle Tube Pushing


This is a great variation for team training sessions. Simply flip the tube flat onto its side and push it length ways. Obviously there is not as much resistance as other variations but it is good for sprints and races for building competition.

Benefits of Prowler Pushing:

Postural Strength

I’ve already touch upon the need for good postural strength when Prowler pushing. The ability to maintain a strong core position is vital in rugby and most sports and the Prowler really challenges this position. It is a total body exercise which will be limited by a weak core.

Limited Eccentric Stress

If you didn’t already know the eccentric or lowering part of an exercise is when you do the most muscle damage which causes soreness. The beauty of Prowler pushing is that there is no eccentric phase! This means you can do a lot of volume and still be able to recover.

Rugby Specific

Any front five player will see the benefits of getting strong in this position for scrummaging, rucking and mauling, but even backs will feel the benefit and carryover into hitting tackles and breakdown work in the wide channels.


That’s right, if you have access to a prowler you can use them for strength development, power, speed and conditioning all in a position that carries over well to many sporting actions. You can push them with high handles, low handles and pull them with straps or a rope.

rope pulls

Mental Toughness

If you try some of the more challenging sessions with a Prowler you will know they can be some of the toughest workouts you’ve done. They force you to dig deep into your mental and physical reserves and keep pushing. Try doing Prowler Suicides at altitude and you will really know what I mean!

Example Sessions:

  • For Strength: 4-6 x10m as heavy as possible 90-120secs rest – simple but effective!
  • Speed/Power: Light Weight 10-25kg (dependant on surface and player)
    x4 Prowler Push x10m Break Off and Sprint 20m Full 2-3min recovery
  • Conditioning: 5x Push x10-15m Rope Pull Back to Start 60sec rest
  • Mental Toughness: Prowler Suicides!
    5m Low Handle Jump Through and Push 5m High Handle
    10m Low Handle Jump Through and Push 10m High Handle
    15m Low Handle Jump Through and Push 15m High Handle

Wrap Up!

So there you have it the best exercise you’re not doing! Hopefully now you can see the benefits of Prowler pushing and you have a few sessions to try!

Bottom line I’ve seen Prowler pushing work! I had a player who couldn’t squat due to injuries but was fine to Prowler push so we hit the volume hard and when he went back to squatting he could lift more than before. Now who wouldn’t want that?!

Get Pushing!!

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