What Are The Best Exercises To Improve Lineout Jumping?

Lineout jumping looks simple enough, I mean who doesn’t know how to jump? However, all lineout jumpers know how tricky this aspect of rugby can be.

One highly effective way to improve your lineout jumping ability is to perform specific exercises which will increase your jumping height, speed and endurance. It is time to look at some of the best exercises for lineout jumping that will have you soaring above your opposition jumper and winning possession for your side.

What are the best exercises to improve lineout jumping?

The best exercises to improve your lineout jumping and allow you to jump higher and more explosively are:

  • Knee to tuck jumps
  • Bounding broad jumps
  • Back Squats
  • Barbell Jumps

These exercises will turn you into a lineout jumping master and opposing teams will be scared to throw the ball anywhere near you.

Knee To Tuck Jumps

To improve your lineout jumping skills you need to practice jumping. A simple but highly effective exercise that will improve rugby players jumping speed and height are knee to tuck jumps 

To perform a knee to tuck jump, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, squat halfway down, then jump as high into the air as possible and bring your knees to your chest. 

The higher you can jump in the air and the higher you can bring your knees up the better. You need to time your jump and swing your arms so you can achieve maximum height.

Rugby players should perform tuck jumps twice a week and perform 4-6 sets of 4-6 reps.

Here is a video demonstrating how to perform a tuck jump

Bounding Broad Jumps

If you want to improve your lineout jumping ability you need to increase your speed and explosiveness. Plyometric exercises are specifically designed to improve jumping prowess and explosiveness of athletes such as rugby players.

One highly effective plyometric exercise is the bounding broad jump. Bounding board jumps are great for rugby players and specifically for lineout jumpers because they are simple to perform and have been proven to be successful at increasing speed and jumping height by track and field athletes who have been incorporating them into their training regimes for years.

To perform bounding broad jumps, stand with your shoulder width apart, squat down, jump forward as far as you can while swinging your arms in front of you to give you extra momentum.

Once you land from your first jump you need to immediately repeat the motion and jump again. Remember to keep your chest up and keep your weight on the balls of your feet.

Perform bounding broad jumps for 6 sets of 4 jumps and do them twice a week.

Here is a video demonstrating how to perform a bounding broad jump

Back Squats

2015 Rugby World Cup, Ireland Rugby Squad Training, St George’s Park, Burton-upon-Trent, England 22/9/2015 Ireland’s Nathan White during today’s gym session Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Lineout jumping is a heavily quad dominant movement. A highly effective way to increase your lineout jumping height is to increase the size and strength of your quads.

By increasing your muscle mass and strength of your legs you will be able to generate greater amounts of force when jumping in a lineout. This increased amount of force will propel you higher into the air, making it easier for you to get above your opposition and catch the ball clean and uncontested.  

Back squats are the king of all exercises when it comes to building huge and powerful legs. Have you seen the quads of olympic weightlifters? These athletes are often back squatting 5 days a week and just with one look at their legs you can tell all that squatting is paying off.

An effective way to program back squats is to start off light and use linear periodisation. Start off by using 60% of your max and perform 3 sets of 8 repetitions, 2 times a week. Every week your goal should be to add 2.5kg to the weight you used in your previous week. This training cycle should be run for 10 to 12 weeks. 

For example if your current max is 100kg, in your first week you would start with 60kg and then after 12 weeks you ideally will be squatting 90kg for 3 sets of 8 reps, with this amount of work capacity you should be capable of maxing out your back squat at around 120kg.

An effective variation of the back squat to improve lineout jumping prowess is to add a pause at the bottom of the squat. The pause develops your explosive power out of the bottom which mimics the jump phase of a lineout.

The great thing about back squats for rugby players is that they won’t only make you a better lineout jumper but they will make you a more powerful tackler and improve your sprinting times.

Barbell Jumps

Barbell jumps are one of the most effective exercises to increase jumping height and speed. Track and field athletes have been using this exercise for years to bolster their jumping ability. Coaches discovered that barbell jumps have the most carryover to vertical jump performance than any other exercise.

If you want to improve as a lineout jumper and get into the air higher and quicker you need to be performing barbell jumps.

To perform a barbell jump you unrack on your back just like a back squat. You then place your feet shoulder width apart and perform a quarter squat and then drive off the ground as hard as possible and jump as high as you can. 

When performing barbell jumps you need to focus on keeping your core tight and allowing the force you generate by pushing off the ground flow through your body so you can maximum height on your jump. 

You do not need to use high amounts of weight for barbell jumps. You should start off with just a 20kg Olympic bar and then slowly add weight. Even an advanced athlete would typically not use more than 60kg to 70kg for this exercise. You can perform barbell jumps once or twice a week for 6 sets of 4 reps.

Here Is A Video Demonstrating Barbell Jumps


If you want to dominate as a lineout jumper you need to be able to jump higher and get off the ground quicker than your opposition. The most effective way to improve your lineout jumping ability is to perform specialised exercises that will strengthen your legs and increase the power you can generate when jumping.

The most effective exercises that will improve rugby players’ lineout jumping prowess are knee to tuck jumps, bounding broad jumps, back squats and barbell jumps.

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