Importance of Strength and Conditioning for Rugby Young Players

If you are a young rugby player, there are multiple benefits to strength and conditioning.

Rugby Union is an example of high-intensity intermittent exercise, in that activities that call for maximum strength and power are interspersed with periods of low intensity aerobic activity and rest.

The game is played by two teams of 15 players competing for possession and territory to score more tries, penalties or conversions than the opposition. From a physiological perspective this puts various demands on players during the game.

Since the introduction of professionalism in 1995, there has been a greater emphasis placed on strength and conditioning for players both at professional and amateur level.

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Based on the findings of the current research, here are some of the key components of physical fitness that is required by rugby players:

  1. Strength

If you can improve your strength level, you will increase your ability to produce power. Research shows that in defence, the winning team recovers the ball and completes more handles than losing them, with the winning team recording a completion rate of 94% of tackles. For this reason, strength is viewed as the basis of top performance in Rugby Union.

  1. Power

When tackling, a player must react to visual cues of opponents because they carry the ball. Often you are asked to adjust the position of your body in a split second to make an effective and aggressive tackle. A study investigating the ability of elite Rugby League players have found that a higher level of lower body muscle strength is associated with a better response capability. Try some new Rugby Drills today at a site like

  1. Speed

Match performance motion analysis has found the ability of the attacking player carrying the ball to receive that ball at speed against a defender, greatly increases the chance of breaking a tackle by an opponent.

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  1. Agility

In Rugby Union, analysis of the running ability of attacking ball carriers has shown that those using evasive agility skills to challenge the defensive line were more likely to advance the ball pass the advantage line and retain possession. Receiving the ball at high speed and responding with agile evasion with direction changes of between 20-60 degrees is strongly associated with tackle breaks. The ability to isolate defenders and overcome the break is the main determinant of try-scoring ability and success for rugby teams.

  1. Conditioning

A rugby union match usually lasts for 80 minutes not including injury time. Rugby match time motion analysis indicates that players may travel between 5-6km and values have been recorded up to 7km per game.

A study of elite players in Rugby Union found that the average player maintains an average heart rate 172 beats per minute and one player reached a maximum heart rate of 200 beats per minute. This puts a huge demand on the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems of players. Therefore, a player must have an adequate level of fitness to continue to express their muscle strength, power, speed and agility under fatigue while playing the game.

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