Does Wrestling Make You A Better Rugby Player?

Are you looking for ways to boost your rugby ability? Then look no further than wrestling. If you want to reach your full rugby potential then you need to be wrestling.

Does wrestling make you a better rugby player? 

Yes, wrestling does make you a better rugby player. Wrestling will improve your tacking ability, increase your cardio, strength and overall athleticism. Wrestling will ensure when you tackle someone they stay tackled, you develop Samson-like strength and cardio that will stop you from ever getting tired and when you tackle someone they stay tackled. Wrestling will help you become a rugby beast.

Improved Tackling Ability

Many rugby players make basic mistakes when tackling. They often will tackle with their head down or get their head caught in the wrong location or not get their lead leg close enough to their opposition. Poor tackling technique leads to missed tackles and also bad injuries such as concussions. Wrestling will have you driving your opposition back behind the gain line in no time.

The most popular takedown in wrestling is known as a double leg. It is very similar to a rugby tackle, where a wrestler will crouch down, push off his back foot, wrap his arms around the legs of his opponent and drive with his shoulder into their ribs.

Wrestlers are experts at performing double legs. They spend hours every week perfecting this takedown. Wrestlers know how to combine technique and explosiveness which gives their opponents no chance of escaping. Resulting in wrestlers launching their opponents across the mat and sending them back metres. Very useful in rugby if you want to force a turnover or crush the morale of your opposition.

If you learn how to execute double leg takedowns like a wrestler your chance of injury will go down, your tackling ability will shoot up and you will be forcing your opponents back behind the gain line which gives you a right opportunity to force a knock on or a turnover.

The double leg is a basic wrestling takedown so it won’t be long until you see a noticeable improvement in your tackling skills. After 3-6 months of wrestling practice you should be a double leg master and experience big gains in your rugby tackling ability.

Stronger Neck

In rugby concussions and spinal injuries are not uncommon due to the contact nature of the sport. A strong neck can reduce your risk of suffering one of these serious injuries. A strong neck prevents your neck from moving and you experiencing a whiplash effect when you take contact. A strong neck can literally be a lifesaver.

Wrestlers are famous for having freaky big and strong necks. Go on check out the necks of your local college wrestling team or hop on youtube and watch some international wrestling matches, you will be amazed, you definitely won’t find any pencil necks.

 Wrestlers build huge necks from fighting with their opponents over control of each other’s necks. Wrestlers are constantly pulling and snapping on each other’s necks throughout training and competition as the neck allows wrestlers to set up many takedowns and gives them high amounts of control.

Wrestlers also build their necks by performing an exercise called a bridge. This where a wrestler will balance his weight on his neck with his shoulder and hips off the mat to prevent his opponent from pinning him. Wrestlers never ones to take it easy further develop their necks through neck focused weight training.

By training wrestling your neck will be forced to grow and become strong as it adapts to the stress of the sport. As the neck is such a sensitive area you can never go wrong by having a big strong neck. Wrestling is a fantastic way to build your neck and reduce your chance of suffering a horrible brain or spinal injury.

Increased Cardio

Scrambling Like This Will Give You Unbeatable Cardio

It doesn’t matter if you are the most skilled and talented rugby player on the entire planet if your cardio is garbage then you won’t be able to display your skills and it is all a waste. Cardio is a necessity in rugby, we have all seen top teams lose to poor teams because they weren’t in shape.

Let’s be honest cardio training is often shit, nobody likes it or wants to do it. It can be easy to zone out and go through the motions when doing your rugby. Wrestling is a more enjoyable way to get in shape. Developing your cardio by tossing your mates across the mat with big slams is much more fun than doing sprints.

Wrestlers are known for having cardio for days. Wrestling is a highly anaerobic sport. It is hard enough to shadow wrestle for 6 minutes let alone go live with a partner for a full match. Wrestlers will absolutely get you in the best shape of your life.

It happens all the time when rugby players first give wrestling a go they often end up on all fours dry heaving. Wrestling training is much harder than rugby training. If you want to get in serious shape and boost your cardio then purchase some wrestling shoes and pop down to your local wrestling club.

Increased Coordination

Penn State’s Bravo-Young shows off athleticism against Lehigh

Coordination is very important in rugby, you can’t catch a ball if your hand eye coordination is garbage. You can never be too coordinated, who doesn’t dream of throwing around the back flick passes. It is often beneficial to practice other sports to develop your coordination as by focusing on one sport your body’s movement patterns can become stagnant.

Wrestling is a tricky sport where high levels of coordination are a necessity. Wrestling involves performing complex multi step movements at rapid speed over and over again. Wrestlers are constantly feeling each other’s balance and often use great body awareness to attack and defend against takedowns. If you are looking for a way to improve your coordination wrestling may be your answer.

Improved Flexibility

Rugby can make you very stiff, taking all those tackles and being hit from all different angles can really cause your flexibility to take a nosedive. Flexibility is an important part of rugby as it can be the difference between a knock on and a try. However, it is often neglected as it is considered girly to stretch. 

Wrestling will help you increase your flexibility. Wrestlers are forced to be flexible as many of the positions they find themselves in particularly when they are avoiding takedowns require high levels of flexibility. It is common to see wrestlers do the splits or hopping around on one leg in a desperate effort to avoid being scored on.

Flexibility may not be as alpha as strength, talking about your ability to do the splits isn’t as cool as bragging about your 600 pound deadlift but it still matters. Wrestling will force you to develop your flexibility whether you like it or not as your opponents will put you in positions which will stretch your shoulders, legs, ankles and groin.

Flexibility is an underrated skill in rugby and if you develop it through wrestling you will see a noticeable improve in your rugby skill.

Higher Levels Of Mental Toughness

Mental toughness is an underrated factor in rugby. You will have to deal injuries and ups and downs as you have good and bad games. If you want to become a top rugby player you will have to learn to silence those little voices in your head that try to convince you to quit.

Wrestlers are known for their extreme mental toughness. If you were a WWE fan as a kid you may remember the legendary story of Kurt Angle winning an Olympic gold medal with a broken neck. Wrestling is a breeding ground for toughness that you can’t find in other sports.

There is something about being absolutely exhausted, barely being able to walk but having an opponent right up in your face trying to beat you up. You can either quit and face the shame of that decision or you can dig deep and find the extra energy to fight and defeat your opponent. Wrestling will teach you to find that extra energy.

If you want to increase your mental toughness so that no matter how tired you get you will always be able to dig deeper and find that extra gear then you need to wrestle.

Increased Strength

Whether you are cleaning out in a ruck, tackling, jumping to catch a high ball or running over an opposition player, strength is a critical factor in your success on the rugby field. This is why weight training has become so pervasive in the rugby world. The big fella has an advantage over the little fella, it pays to be strong. Now weights are an effective way to build your strength however there are other highly effective methods to turn yourself into the hulk, minus the green skin.

Wrestlers are known for their herculean strength. If you ever try to grab a hold of a wrestler you will quickly realize these blokes feel more like stone than flesh. Wrestlers have developed a unique strength that gives them freaky power.

Wrestlers spend a ridiculous amount of time everyday picking up and throwing their opponents across the wrestling mat. They are forever squeezing and pinning different body parts of their opponents who are giving their 100% to escape. This type of training creates a unique type of strength that is directly applicable to football.

If you want to hold onto your opponents leg even if they are the incarnation of Jonah Lomah or develop a palm that will make your opposition think about quitting rugby then you need to wrestle. Wrestling will give you that freaky level of strength which no amount of deadlifting or squatting can achieve.


If you are a rugby player who wants to turn himself into a tackling machine who can step anyone on the field and then do a backflip to celebrate after you score the game winning try then you need to be on a wrestling mat. Wrestling will improve your strength, flexibility, athleticism and cardio. All these attributes will boost your rugby ability. It won’t take long to see marked improvements in your overall athletic ability after training wrestling. After 6 months of wrestling you should experience a large improvement in your on field rugby performance.

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