10 must do physical and mental exercises for rugby players - Ruck

Become the best rugby player you can with these physical and mental exercises

Ahead of the remaining Quilter Internationals series, Canterbury has devised a training plan to help those fans across the country who have been inspired by results so far to get #RugbyFit.

After facing off against South Africa, New Zealand and Japan, England round off the series against Australia this weekend.

To celebrate, Canterbury has worked with training experts to produce the below guide which helps combine not only the physical aspects of rugby, but also help you become mentally stronger. This plan uses 10 different exercises, both physical and mental, to activate and strengthen core muscle groups to perform at their peak and mentally prepare for a physically demanding 80 minutes.

Strength and Power (Created by Brian Keane)

1. EXERCISE – Barbell Push

SETS/REPS – 5 sets of 5 repetitions

WHY – Pushing an object away from the body mimics the action of a hand off. In this exercise, you are going to use one hand to push the barbell away from your body to mimic a handoff (although you can use two hands).


  • Stand in an upright position
  • Grab the barbell with one hand
  • Fix one leg in front of the other and use your back leg for support
  • Grab the top of the barbell underneath the plate
  • Drop your elbow back as the weight descends and explode it back to the starting position, driving through your shoulders

2. EXERCISE – Barbell Bench Press

SETS/REPS – 5 sets of 5 repetitions

WHY – This builds strength throughout the entire chest, shoulders and triceps and can help to break through tackles more effectively within the match situation.


  • Lay on your back on a bench with your feet planted on the floor
  • Grip the bar approximately 2 feet apart (or at a comfortable point, wider than shoulder width) with your arms straight above your chest
  • Slowly and under control, lower the bar down to the level of your chest
  • Pause for one second and explode upwards

3. EXERCISE – Barbell Squat

SETS/REPS – 5 sets of 5 repetitions

WHY – This exercise builds strength, primarily in the legs, hips, and core, but more importantly it develops balance. Executed properly, squats can help prevent injury as they strengthen the hips, knees and ankles to stay in correct alignment. Aiming for a slow eccentric muscle contraction (lowering part) and exploding out of the bottom of the squat will help you improve power and speed.


  • Position the barbell on the squat rack so that the bar sits about 3 inches lower than your shoulders
  • Position your hands evenly on the bar and back up and under the bar so that it rests comfortably on your shoulders. Palms should face forward
  • Feet facing forward, squat down with the bar in a controlled motion. Maintain a straight back at all times, keep your torso up, brace your abs and lats and push your hips out as you descend, preventing your knees from passing your toes
  • Keeping your gaze fixed ahead of you, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • On the ascent drive through your heels, maintaining the correct posture as above until you reach standing position without locking your knees