Pre-season rugby training program

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our preseason rugby training program


This pre-season program is designed for 12-weeks prior to the start of the competitive rugby season, better known as pre-season. The main areas that it will help you develop are:

  • Hypertrophy
  • Strength
  • Power
  • Aerobic fitness
  • Anaerobic fitness



As well as being rugby specific, strength and conditioning training for rugby should follow a periodized plan which means that training changes throughout the year to reflect the needs of the player. The assumption behind this pre-season rugby training program is that you have a sound background in strength and conditioning training, are currently injury-free (and want to stay that way), have just completed a good off-season period of training, and are getting ready for the upcoming competitive season.


Some training programs just go straight into the daily workouts, while others meander on with paragraphs of background info and just a tiny table of workouts at the end. We’ve tried our best to strike a balance so that this eBook contains the most comprehensive pre-season rugby training program you’ll ever get your hands on. 



A quick breakdown of what we will be covering in this eBook.



Good workouts start with a warm up and end with a cool down.



Several strategies used to enhance and speed up recovery.



The full pre-season strength and conditioning program.

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Many strength training programs prescribe exercise intensity using a percentage of your one repetition maximum. But we’ve decided not to take that approach in our pre-season rugby training program. Why? While 1RM prescriptions can work, they don’t work for everyone. For example, someone with a high percentage of fast twitch type 2b muscle bers will not be able to do as many reps with, for example, 80% of their 1RM, as someone with more slow twitch type 1 muscle bers. Using a 1RM percentage prescription could mean that one player finds a program too hard or too easy. 

Some exercises will be placed into pairs called “supersets.” This method saves time and enhances recovery. These exercises will be identified with the letters a) and b).

For example:

  • 1A Leg extensions
  • 1B Leg curls

To perform a superset, do the two paired exercises back to back. Rest a moment after the second exercise and then repeat. Don’t worry though, it’s all explained in the program. 


Our pre-season rugby training program is built around three four-week progressive training blocks. Each block is similar but is slightly more demanding than the one that preceded it. In short, the program gets harder as you get fitter and stronger to take you toward a physical peak ready for the season proper.


  • MONDAY – lower body strength training & aerobic conditioning
  • TUESDAY – upper body strength & anaerobic conditioning
  • WEDNESDAY – rest and prehab
  • THURSDAY – lower body strength training & aerobic conditioning
  • FRIDAY – upper body strength & anaerobic conditioning
  • SATURDAY – conditioning
  • SUNDAY – rest and prehab


We’ve had quite a few people ask us what a ‘Top Set’ is in this pre-season program. Top Sets refer to a 6-set group of sets in the middle of the program. It’s kind of like half a pyramid, in that you only step up and not down at the end. So for example, Block 1 Day 1, your front squats are the main focus of the workout that day. Do 6 sets of front squats getting progressively heavier. 


Want to try one of the program’s workouts before you download the full eBook? No problem! Here’s an example of what a Tuesday looks like in our pre-season strength & conditioning program. It’s not quite complete though, you still need to add a warmup and a cool-down element for it to be useful. 

sample program for pre-season training program


That touch on pre-season training ideas

Pre-season is an exciting time in the life of a rugby player. If you’ve built a strong cardio and strength base, it can also be the most fun. You’re not playing. Yes, that’s true. But this also means you’re not getting injured every second week. When you’re not getting injured, you can make massive gains in strength, size and aerobic/anaerobic fitness. If our pre-season program wasn’t enough, try these blogs. 

rugby boxing fitness

Box your way to pre-season rugby fitness

Why is boxing one of the best pre-season training methods for rugby players? Because boxing delivers an amazing rugby-specific cardio workout. Not to mention, boxing gives you a whole bunch of core and grip strength that are incredibly useful on the rugby field.

pre-season rugby diet

How to structure your pre-season rugby diet

A rugby player’s diet is during pre-season then it is in the rugby season. This pre-season rugby diet plan will help you get the most out of your training. It’s designed around helping you become a leaner, stronger rugby player with a higher power-to-weight ratio.


made ideally for pre-season training and recovery

At Ruck Science, we believe in taking a periodized approach to both rugby training and rugby nutrition. That’s why our range of supplements are designed to be used in combination with one another. The advantage of using a supplement stack as opposed to individual formulas is that you can give your body exactly what it needs exactly when it needs it. Here are some of the stacks we’d recommend for use with our pre-season strength & conditioning program. 

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  • ruck training cookies n cream + fruit punch

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  • recovery pro dragonfruit cookies

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  • twin whey protein pack

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Remember ---- 10% of every order is donated to the rugby club of your choice!