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Rugby/Football - Athlete Conditioning


Hey everyone, I am taking on a group of premier rugby players who lack basic fitness as a conditioning coach. I want to make each training unique but 100 percent challenging. So my main goal is to get each players fitness up to standard and see them pushing past their boundaries. In the past sessions, I saw them enjoying the unconventional workouts but could spot that not many gave 100%.

Any recommendations from athletes or other coaches here on where to draw the line between interesting drills and the hard yards including intervall sprints and long distance running. Cheers, M


Age group? And why did you get the job?


Don’t get caught up in “interesting” and “unique”. There are lots of fads that come and go in the fitness industry but the simple fundamentals stand the test of time.

Assess their needs. Aerobic, anaerobic, maybe both?

Train those systems accordingly. For rugby I’d assume they need to be able to move constantly with sprinting bouts mixed in with jogging.

I’d program high intensity intervals. Sprint/walk. Sprint/jog. Use a variety of drills that include starting, stopping, cutting, even fighting through resistance as when getting tackled.

Increase the duration of the training sessions to match the longest stretch they’d be playing.

They’re athletes. They don’t need to be entertained. They need to be prepared.

As a test you could design a shuttle run for time. Rest and repeat to test their ability to recover. Timed sprints have a way of bringing out the appropriate effort. Miss the time and face the consequences.


Thanks mate. I appreciate your reply! I have been testing both their aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Shuttles are the go to, so easy to alternate and always promising results, in the short term of pre-season anyways. My approach was based around the level of performance of my athletes. Although our training environment could be mistaken for pretty professional, the actual athletes are amateurs/social players. As far as preparing them goes, of course, this is next to injury prevention the number 1 priority. Might have used the wrong term in my initial post, it’snot like we sat in a circle and told jokes, they didn’t enjoy the workout, the workout was perceivable easier but still hard. Cheers for the feedback though!


Adults, 18-35, not professional athletes, but I want I want to develop them to be the best athletes they can be. But periodization can be difficult in social teams due to inconsistencies. I got offered this position, on a volunteer-basis. I have a sport and exercise qualification.



I’ll look up my old football and lacrosse training manual and get back what is relevant to you.


You face the same problem that all coaches and trainers do: you can’t force people to be dedicated and follow the program. The further you get from college and pro sports, the worse it gets. I could write a killer conditioning program for my rec league basketball team but I doubt my teammates would show up.

Good luck!