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Rugby Tip of the Month – At Home Strength Exercises, Part 5

The real work horses around the pitch: numbers 6, 7, 8, 12 and 13

The Centers and Back Row (and hookers, in some cases, are responsible for engaging in more tackles, rucks and contact points than any other positions on the field. In terms of GPS data, these athletes compete regularly for who registers the highest number of, and most intense, impacts.

So, it’s important that they develop the ability to maintain strong, stable body positions once they engage with an opposing player trying to twist, turn or move them out of the way. For example, when approaching the gainline, a ball carrying Center wants to create separation from would-be tacklers with a good fend-off or stiff-arm. However, if the athlete can not remain strong and rigid with their arm extended, the opponent will easily move through the attempt and dominate the contact.

Similarly, the athlete who can maintain the strongest position at a ruck usually dominates the space and possession. We’ve probably all seen these scenarios: a defender/poacher is fixed over the ball and an attacking support player has a running start into the contact. It seems like the player with the momentum would have the advantage, however, the defending player can (and often does) maintain their position over the ball by being able to absorb the impact of the oncoming player.

Here are a few stabilizing exercise progressions that ANY position can use in their current workout routines to help improve their stability and core training:

Shoulder Taps

Opposite Arm/Leg Stability

Quadruped Birddogs

The key during any of these movements is to move slow and controlled while minimizing any twisting or turning in your hips and shoulders.

For more examples, check out the Universal Sports Strength YouTube Channel


For the first time ever, I’m offering a 12-week Strength & Conditioning Remote Coaching Program. This includes:

   – weekly group/team presentations (discussing training techniques, nutrition and recovery strategies)

   – 12 weeks of Strength, Conditioning and Running/Speed training

   – Weekly 1-on-1 coaching calls to help maximize the training and high performance habits to your routine/environment.

   – Athletes also receive the Athlete Performance Manual and access to the exclusive online community of athletes to receive more tips, techniques and strategies on how to maximize your training and performance.

Email me at for more information.

Photo credit: Orange County Register

Are you a Tight 5 athlete that wants to connect with Coach Cosner? You can follow or send a DM to him on Instagram (@TIght5Performance) or Facebook (@PowerSportStrengthConditioning).

Want to connect with Coach Cosner directly? Send an email to with TIGHT 5 in the subject line. 

Justin Goonan, MSc, CSCS Strength & Conditioning, Sports Performance Consultant USA Rugby – Director of S&C, High School All-Americans USA Touch – Head of Athlete Performance NSCA – Chairman, Rugby Special Interest Group


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