Rocket Rugby

Supercharge your team's rugby fitness and win more than your fair share of games
Sally Lark and Doug McClymont

This comprehensive book addresses the areas crucial to the development of the player, regardless of their ability and provides 139 pages of practical, rugby-focused fitness advice.

It includes simple exercises for the players to do at home or at work to boost conditioning between sessions.

With the correct fitness training you will enhance your players’ skills and generate new levels of success and provide you with almost everything you need to know for rugby fitness.


For a typical club training twice a week the need to practise skills, techniques and tactics all too frequently overrides the drive to develop fitness.

If that’s the case for you, it could be a costly error.

There’s probably a number of reasons why you don’t do more fitness work, not least…

Enthusiasm – Let’s face it, fitness training can be boring for players and the coach. You’re there to play rugby, not run around the training pitch.

Opportunity – Your rugby club probably doesn’t have a fitness trainer or a well-equipped gym. How can you get the players fit?

Focus – If your players do fitness work on their own, it’s probably a couple of miles jogging round the local park or “pumping iron” in the gym. Is this really going to help their rugby?

Knowledge – You probably had to undergo a thorough accreditation process before you could coach rugby. Except in one crucial area, fitness.

Where are you meant to find expert advice from trustworthy sources?

Rocket Rugby has been designed to overcome these barriers, with the objective of supercharging every rugby player’s fitness.

Get fit, stay fit through the season

Rocket Rugby is the ultimate rugby fitness manual, containing training programmes to take you through the whole season:

  • Getting fit
  • Pre-season fitness
  • Early season fitness
  • Mid season fitness
  • End of season fitness

… as well as simple exercises for the players to do at home or at work to boost conditioning between sessions.

General fitness is good, but it’s not enough to play rugby. Maybe you can sprint 100m in 11 seconds or run a marathon in under 2½ hours or bench press 75kgs, but that doesn’t mean you can run, ruck and pass well for 80 minutes.

Rocket Rugby addresses the areas crucial to the development of the player, regardless of their current standard or ability.



Warming up to sharpen minds and bodies

Warming up, stretching and core stability routines:

  • Two dynamic warm up programmes to ensure your fitness training runs smoothly
  • Focused stretching exercises for the neck, shoulders, upper arms, lower back, backside, thighs, hamstrings, lower leg.
  • Simple exercises to improve core stability.
  • Practical stretching schedule guidelines – off-season, in-season, pre-game, post game, for backs, for forwards.

Fit for rugby

Assessing and monitoring your players’ rugby fitness, with specific training programmes to boost endurance, speed and strength:

  • Assessing rugby fitness, covering endurance, leg power, leg strength, upper body strength endurance.Includes the Beep / Bleep Test, Cooper’s 12 Minute Run Test, 40/20 test, Sargent Jump Test, squat test, continuous press ups test.
  • 43 fitness techniques covering speed, agility, mobility, jumping, power, strength endurance, reactions and balance.
  • 17 exercises for the home and office – great ways to train anywhere, every day.
  • Endurance training – avoiding boredom, fartlek speed intervals, indoor and outdoor training, hill running variations, resistance running options.
  • Speed and agility training – methods to turbo-charge acceleration, run faster with less effort. Featuring a 6-week plan to boost every player’s running speed and a 5 station circuit to work acceleration and agility.
  • Strength training – managing your weights programme (load and intensity), featuring a 6-week plan to boost strength and power.
  • Plyometrics training – improving speed and power.

Get your players to eat and drink themselves fit

Nutritional advice to optimise your training and keep your players healthy:

  • What to eat and, crucially, when.
  • 9 pre-game and post game meal plans to maximise energy and aid recovery.
  • Stimulants and supplements – protein, caffeine, creatine. Stay safe, stay legal.
  • Taking on liquids – what types, how much, how often?

Preventing injuries

Managing injuries and aiding recuperation:

  • Managing common rugby injuries and causes of pain – stingers and burners, cramp, muscle soreness, dead legs, muscle strain, muscle spasms.
  • Overcoming ankle, knee and shoulder injuries, rehabilitation and muscle strengthening to avoid repeated injury.
  • Dealing with head and facial injuries, fractures, wounds and lower back pain.

Under 16s and women

Specific fitness training advice for coaches of women and children aged under 16s:

  • Special considerations for children’s fitness training.
  • Children’s nutritional requirements.
  • Specific childhood injuries to watch for.
  • Dietary needs for women in training.
  • Strength exercises particular to women.
  • Specific injuries to watch for when coaching women.

Fitness and conditioning programmes

In-depth training programmes to get players ready to train and play rugby:

  • Getting started – pre-season training / training from a low fitness base, 17 “no weights” rugby focused strength exercises. Featuring a 6-week programme for improved endurance, speed, agility, strength and power.
  • Powering on – pre-season training for reasonably fit players.

In-season fitness

Structured fitness training through the year, based on 3-week training cycles:

  • Fitness programmes covering early season, mid season and end of season
  • Specific training covering endurance, intermittent fitness, speed, agility and strength.

Glossary of terms

A jargon busting guide, cutting through fitness training terminology.

Expert advice throughout

Rocket Rugby is filled with “gems” – tips and myth-busting advice from the professionals.

  • The quick fitness benefits of sleep
  • Easy ways to vary endurance training
  • The best time to gain extra muscle
  • The smart way to start a fitness training programme
  • The truth about the fat burning zone
  • The benefits of “focused snacking”
  • Calculating dehydration for improved rehydration
  • Warm drink myths, fizzy drink truths
  • The “GI” alternative to “carbohydrate loading”
  • When to benefit from eating sweets
  • Match day menus
  • When to eat before the big match
  • Treating stingers, burners, cramp and dead legs
  • Strengthening damaged ankles
  • The 6-week strength training cycle
  • Simple alternatives to expensive sports drinks
  • Beating shoulder woes
  • Dealing with muscle soreness
  • Why you should warm-up before stretching
  • Testing your players’ balance to determine core stability
  • Training when cleaning your teeth
  • Stretching guidelines in-season, off-season, pre-game, post-game
  • Assessing and monitoring rugby fitness, speed and strength
  • The difference between endurance and speed training
  • Setting topics of conversation for better aerobic fitness training
  • Adding variety to stamina training
  • Sprint exercises for props
  • Running faster with less effort
  • Lighter loads for improved resistance running
  • The “overload principle” and how can it help your players
  • Different dietary requirements of women rugby players
  • Spotting common injuries in under 16s
  • The “five station circuit” for training speed and agility
  • Ways to avoid fitness training boredom

Ebook, Print, Ebook + Print

Dr Sally Lark is an expert in sports injuries and physiotherapy. She has worked with Premiership, 1st and 2nd division rugby clubs in Wales. She now lectures on sports therapy and rehabilitation at Massey University, New Zealand. Doug McClymont has worked with numerous rugby teams and coaches in New Zealand, and at all levels of the game from club, through provincial, Super 14, to international teams. He is a qualified sports biomechanics expert from the University of Otago, New Zealand.