How Do Rugby League Players Train?

How Do Rugby League Players Train?

How Do Rugby League Players Train?

Rugby league is one of the toughest sports on the planet and its players are revered for their all-round fitness.

Currently, the Australian NRL is one of the few professional sports leagues playing fixtures, making rugby one of the only sports available to watch. The games have been played behind closed doors so far but fans are set to return to stadiums as early as next week.

Before the season’s resumption, there was a great deal of emphasis on ensuring the players’ bodies would be prepared for competitive action, and when you look into the workload they endure, it’s mightily impressive. 

In pre-season several areas are worked on. Training will include sessions focused on heavy lifting, HIIT, wrestling, stretching, swimming and Wattbike work.

Rugby League Training Details

There are a number of key areas of fitness that rugby players regularly work on. As you would expect, there’s a big emphasis on improving maximal strength through a number of traditional weight lifting exercises, such as deadlifts, back squats, bench presses and power cleans.

Arm and shoulder strength is certainly another important area as it helps hugely with tackling. Speaking to GQ Magazine [] back in 2013, Sam Tomkins - a former Wigan Warrior - said the curl and press is an exercise he likes to use, which involves curling a dumbbell before pressing it above your head. Tomkins would do 4 sets of 12 reps, lifting 17kg on each side.

Cardiovascular training is obviously paramount as well, with a lot of hill sprints, continuous running, and Wattbike sessions taking place in pre-season in particular. 

Then recovery takes a big emphasis and squads will regularly have group stretching sessions or yoga classes to help muscle repair between matches.


At the elite level, there’s an expectation that you look after your body if you want a long career.

Senior pros, in particular, will usually ensure they’re getting sleep and hydration right in order to perform their best on the pitch.

And nutrition is vital for these huge men, who will consume vast amounts of calories in their high-protein diets. Ex-Leeds Rhinos man Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s take on it is: "If you give yourself a permission slip to perform badly just because you haven't had access to the right food, then that's your loss."