Strength training drills for young rugby players

The advice from most strength and conditioning coaches is that players should not start lifting weights until 16 at the earliest and even then it depends on their individual physical maturity. However, there is plenty that young players can do during your team's training drills to improve their strength and to learn the correct techniques for when they do start lifting weights.

Core Strength

The one area young players should really try and develop is their core strength. This is a very important area of strength conditioning. These rugby training drills will help develop core strength in your players.

The “Bridge”

The simplest training drill is the “bridge”, where a player holds a press up shape, but has their weight on their elbows, not hands. They must hold this position for as long as possible.


Body weight circuits can be used as an alternative to the gym. Ensure players perform all the drills with good technique; keep the number of repetitions low (5 – 10) to start with and increase gradually. Remember to include squats, lunges, crunches, vertical jumps, squat thrusts, ruck pad drives over two to five metres, press ups (on knees if necessary), sit ups, and step ups.

Wrestling training drills

Ball wrestle – Two players wrestle to rip a ball off each other. Encourage the players to keep their feet still and use their upper body strength.

Seated wrestle – Two players sit back to back with their legs straight out in front of them. They link arms. On your call of “LEFT” or “RIGHT” they try to pull their opponent over to that side.

Wrestle on knees – Two players sit back to back with their legs straight out in front of them. On your signal they get to their knees, turn to face each other, and wrestle, trying to pin their opponent’s shoulders on the ground.

Share this
Follow us