T Nation

New to Rugby


I'm sure this has been posted before but I would like to get some help. I am currently thinking about playing rugby, because my older brother plays and he wants me to start.
I am 16 about 160 pounds at 5'8". I was wondering what kind of routine i should start doing in order to prepare me for both the strength and running aspects of rugby.


Depends on the current shape you're in and the position you want to play.

Basically I'm guessing (cause you're small) that you'll either be a halfback, or a wing. In that case interval speed work with a focus on sprinting is what you want. Whole body strength is very important for the contact nature of the game, and especially shoulder/trap work to protect your shoulder/collarbone from all the impact you'll take.


Join a team. Work out with your team mates.


Thanks. Yeah I am relatively small. I've been lifting on an off for about a year. My legs are pretty strong i squat around 265 max. Im starting to deadlift more, and also run. I'm thinking about playing either this coming fall, or waiting until next spring so that i can build up my speed/endurance/strength.


Don't wait. If you play this year, next year you'll be A LOT better, wait and you'll be SLIGHTLY better, maybe.

I only started at 16 (grade 10), I played hooker mostly at a whopping 145lbs (5ft 6in)! Being small in rugby is not really a problem, learn to hit low and wrap and you can take anyone down.

As for the training, just what others have said. General strength work focusing on the big lifts (squats, deads, rows and presses). Then hammer out some conditioning work.

Good luck.


The biggest surprise for me when I played my first season of rugby was the conditioning needed.

Just my $.02


Thanks for the advice. I guess i should start this fall. I am going to focus on the lifting and conditioning aspects of the game this summer but also continue it through the season. My brother who plays said i am probably stronger than most of the kids playing U19 so i guess i should just keep working and running.


Get on a basic full-body program e.g. starting strength

focus on main lifts - squat / deadlift / bench/ shoulder press

throw in some explosive movements e.g. box jumps/cleans/snatches

do a lot of interval training and steady state cardio

play touch rugby during pre-season, pretty hard on the lungs and will keep your skills up - will also help overlap into the full game e.g. looking for space and evading the man not just trying to run over the top of him.

don't worry about having to get bigger or stronger to play, I know a lot of weaker and smaller players than myself that are better at tackling, it's mostly technique and just having the balls to put your head where it looks like it's gonna hurt
p.s. the more you back out of contact the more it hurts


No, get bigger and stronger to play rugby. I have never seen a player suffer from getting bigger and stronger and faster to play rugby.

Figure out what position you want to try and play and start working on your game specific skills.

Unless you're a forward, don't bother with long slow runs. Just do a strong volume of interval conditioning sessions and spring work.


Thanks for the help. Does anyone have any advice on lifting routines i should use and what my diet should be like. By the way I am also looking into power lifting also with my older brother along with rugby.


Backs are geigh.

Run with the pack.

Flanker is fun.

As far as a routine, why not run Westside for Skinny Bastards III, and slightly modify the football program? That would be a good blend of PL and sport training, I think.

That is, if you've got 6 months of consistent lifting behind you. If not, there's a million good beginner programs out there.

Do you want to COMPETE in powerlifting, or just get strong? No wrong answer here... we all have our own goals.


oh yeah... diet: eat clean and a lot. Don;t overthink it.


I think laner just meant don't wait until you're bigger to start.

As for a program, and beginner lifting program that hits the basics will be fine, such as Starting Strength.


Yeah i am looking to compete in Power Lifting.


I agree, get strong in the basic lifts. Lift 2-3 times a week.

Spend the rest of time getting faster, getting fitter and eating to recover.


To be honest training in the gym needs to be simple and heavy, with training and games i would tend to train twice a week during the season something such as:

Power clean
push press
a row movement

  1. power snatch
    incline bench
    a row movement

Its off season currently and i'm loving wendler's 531 program.


start doing westside for skinny bastards 1 or 2 now. Join the team now to gain technique and match related fitness. Nothing gets you fitter than actually playing a game.


Alright cool. I looked at the WS4SB Part III and I am probably going to do that. Its incorporating lifting as well as running. I have also found a team not to far from my house where i am thinking about playing this fall and continuing to play next spring and possibly the summer. I wanted to start playing rugby earlier so that when i get to college I do well.


Good selection, I think.

Just remember:

Backs are geigh.

Run with the pack.


How do you shoot the boot if you're 16?


Sorry for my lack of knowlege on sayings, but what does shoot the boot mean?