Rugby is a sport loved and enjoyed by many, but thankfully you don’t need to be tackled to a pulp on the pitch in order to train like you a rugby player and reap the fitness benefits.

We caught up with Saracens’ Strength and Conditioning Coach and former Saracens player and England 7s star Kevin Barrett, who has created some rugby-inspired workouts exclusively for Hairy Bikers’ Diet Club.

Kevin says, “Rugby isn’t just for professional players on the pitch. It can be enjoyed at all levels in your day-to-day exercise regime and is a great way to team up with friends for enjoyable fitness sessions. These conditioning games are a fun way to get your heart pumping and burn calories.”


Set up a goal either end using cones, about 30m wide. The grid should be about 40m long if there are two people, but longer if there are more people playing.

One person ‘grubbers’ the rugby ball (this is kicking the ball low and long so it bounces along the ground) from their end of the grid, with the aim of rolling it through the other person’s goal.

The defending player tries to stop the person scoring by moving laterally. If they succeed in preventing the goal, they become the attacker, trying to score via a grubber kick at the opposite end.

Play until someone scores five goals. Rest. Repeat to suit fitness levels.

Kevin says, “This game promotes agility and shuttle-type runs of varying speeds, working on cardiovascular fitness.”


In an open area, simply pass the ball between the two of you while running along, side by side at various distances.

Sounds simple, but as Kevin explains, “Before you know it you’ll have covered a good distance, while being distracted by concentrating on the ball. It’ll improve your fitness, passing skills and hand-eye coordination.”


Rugby might be a team sport, but you can do this one either on your own or with friends.

Find an open space such as the park, and pick a target (for example a lamppost, a thick tree trunk etc) and a start point, such as 100m away from your target.

Using a variety of kicking types, such as grubber kicks (see above) and punts (kick from hand), try to hit your target in as few kicks and as quickly as possible. Run to your ball to collect and set up to kick again.

Kevin says, “You will be running and gaining fitness, while being distracted by, and enjoying the functional challenge.”

Want to train like the pros?

Want to add others sports to your repertoire? Then download our FREE guide to training like an athlete. Including tennis, rowing, running and swimming workout guides, use them to fire up your own fitness regime.

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