Add hill running drills to training

The benefits of hill running drills

A hill session:

  • Requires a shorter session than normal. A rough rule of thumb is a 30 minute hill run is equivalent to a one and half hour normal run.
  • It increases players' endurance.
  • It improves players' running style, especially their rhythm, and enhances their co-ordination.
  • Downhill strides help increase speed and promote a more relaxed style of running.
  • You can replicate some of the slopes on pitches that the team will face!

Since rugby training facilities vary from club to club, here are some ideas that might suit your circumstances.

A short hill or slope

For example, a bank at the side of a pitch.

  • Players run 10 metres on the flat then accelerate up the hill or slope, then jump the last step onto the top of hill, before jogging down.
  • Players run on the flat at an angle to the hill and then turn at a certain point to accelerate up the hill.

A long hill

  • Players run five sets of 100 metre runs, with a jog down recovery.
  • Standing at the bottom of the hill with a whistle, the coach sends out groups of players to run for 20, 25 and 30 seconds flat out. Have a jog back recovery of 20 seconds between each run and 3 minutes recovery between each set.
  • Split the hill into three sections and a relay race up the hill, with the last player jogging back to the beginning to restart the relay.

Technique tips


  • Lean back when you run.
  • Your head should be facing up the hill.
  • Shorten your stride length progressively, the steeper the hill (a bit like using a low gear in a car).


  • Let gravity do the work and so tilt forward a little.
  • Don’t run on your heels. Try to land on the front of the feet.
  • Raise your knees higher and lengthen your stride progressivley, the steeper the hill (but don't over stride).
  • Lift your elbows outwards to maintain balance.
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