Strength and stamina are important in many sports, not least rugby and the very best players know there is more to the game than raw talent.

Cipriani style

When Danny Cipriani burst onto the rugby scene and made his England debut a decade ago in 2008, the world was quick to acknowledge that as a player, he had skill. And style. He was fit. But his attitude and temperament let him down.

For a while more likely to hit the front pages of the newspapers with then-girlfriend, Kelly Brook, than the back pages for his rugby prowess, Danny Cipriani learned very quickly that raw talent is not enough to make a successful career in sport. He moved to Australia to regroup.

Return of the back

The skilled fly-half has now swapped Melbourne for Manchester, plying his trade with the Sale Sharks, and he looks stronger than ever. He has improved his focus and has spent a great deal of time working on his strength.


There is many a rugby drill training video available to go into the detail, but there are simple exercises that can help build strength.

Split squat – 8 reps

Stagger your feet with the back foot on a bench and the front some distance away. Engage the core and stay upright as you lunge forwards with front heel remaining on the ground. Exhale as you pass halfway. Adding dumbbells will increase difficulty.

Press-up – 12 reps

Lie on the floor, face down, feet together. Support your weight on your arms and keeping body rigid, lower your chest almost to the ground and then push back up explosively. Widening the base of your hands will make chest muscles work harder.

Sit-ups – 8 reps

Lying on your back with knees bent, arms in front of you, curl your torso up towards your knees and hold your shoulders up. Exhaling at the top of the exercise will double the impact.

For more ideas about how to improve your strength for rugby, check out the guide on Get Strength, or look up a specific rugby training drill video, from experts like Sportplan.

However you choose to train, there is no substitute for putting in the effort, and having the determination to succeed. Be sure to warm up and cool down after exercise to avoid injury.