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Strength & Power - How & why for rugby players?

It is without doubt that two players side by side, the same weight, speed, fitness & skill level, will be drastically different players if one possessed superior strength & power.
man standing in a squat rack with a barbell after receiving online pt coaching

In the modern game its arguably the most important &time consuming aspect of fitness to develop. You need to play the long game if you want to develop really good strength and power levels, and as a bi product of this will inevitably be increased muscle mass. Developing strength, power and muscle mass has enormous benefits on your size, speed, jump ability, physicality & durability to name a few if trained properly.

A 100kg player will survive in the game of rugby a lot better than his equivalent self with 5kg less of muscle.

If we are going to get specific between Strength & Power, we commonly agree here at SW7 it’s power that separates the men from the boys, the elite from the sub-elite, and the world class from the very good. But why?

 When you accelerate, more power will aid this. When you hit a player in contact, either in attack or defence, the ability to generate power quickly will have a huge impact on the force you will be able to produce. If you’re engagement into the scrum is quicker, you win the hit, and are subsequently on the front foot. If you need to leap for a high ball, power will enable you to jump higher. I think you get our point.

 However, what is the most common mistake we see with this in young athletes? After hearing this, you want to go straight to the gym and develop power, and we don’t blame you! I love the enthusiasm for this, and the work ethic, and the will to get better, but a better strategy must be put in place.  

Let us explain. Strength foundation. What does this mean? Well, for the novice trainer who hasn’t got much experience in the gym, you need to develop strength first.

Let’s think. For example, if you have a maximum squat of100kg, and you’re asked to produce a speed squat at 50% of this load, 50kg, you will produce a power output. You will notice we use devices to measure this in our lifting clubs and in our social media posts. This is called velocity based training (VBT), which Chris will dive deeper into on another blog.

Now, let’s say we developed your squat strength, and we got your squat up to 120kg. Now if we asked you to perform the same test using50kg, you will produce more power with the strength foundation of a 120kg squat compared to 100kg. This will happen without even focussing directly on power. Strength comes first, power comes second. Once you’ve got your strength to a certain level, now we escalate your power output even higher with more specific training!


It’s like building a house. You don’t put on the roof before you’ve dug your footings and put in the foundations. For a younger, novice trainer this is why a ‘linear’ model of training when you have a strength phase, followed by a power phase will work better for you, rather than trying to juggle 3 balls and do muscle gain, strength and power all in a session(undulating training). That perhaps would suit a more advanced trainer who’s looking to maintain those qualities in-season, for example.


To develop the strength and power you need to consistently deliver at least 2-3 sessions a week in the gym for you to achieve this.Ideally 3, particularly if you don’t have a game on the weekend. You might be realising this is why pre-season is so important for young athletes!


If you’re serious about becoming the player you want to be, we would really recommend to invest the time in yourself, be patient, consistently do the work and over the course of months, (and to be perfectly honest with you, years is probably more accurate) you will achieve your goal and here at SW7, we want to help.



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here are some of most asked questions

We hope these help with any questions that you may have. If these don't answer yours in particular then feel free to reach out on Instagram or via email, we are here to help.

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Power is one of the most important physical aspects for any rugby player. The ability to produce force in a short space of time will win or lose collisions.

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