What Are The Best Kettlebell Exercises For Rugby?

Kettlebells are a fantastic training modality which can take your rugby prowess to new heights. By doing a couple of kettlebell sessions a week you will experience significant strength and cardio gains which will turn you into a beast on the rugby pitch. In this article we will show you the best exercises you need to incorporate into your training if you want to become a feared rugby player.

What are the best kettlebell exercises for rugby? 

The best kettlebell exercises for rugby are Turkish get ups (core), kettlebell swings (arms, back) Cossack squats (legs and hips), kettlebell thrusters (shoulders and legs) and grappler’s rows (back, grip strength). By doing these exercises you will boost your power and stamina and significantly improve your rugby ability.

Kettlebell Thruster

The kettlebell thruster is the best bang for your buck kettlebell exercise as it works many of the muscles which are key to being a top rugby player. These include:

  • Hammies
  • Triceps
  • Glutes
  • Lats
  • Trapezius

How To Perform A Gorgeous Kettlebell Thruster So Your Rugby Opposition Will Fall Bounce Off You Like You Are Made Of Stone?:

  • Squat –  get your hips below parallel, go as low as you can while maintaining a straight back, none of this nancy boy squatting high, get low and activate those glutes and quads
  • Explode Out Of Bottom – once you hit the bottom of your squat drive hard and up, keep your weight on the center of your foot, try to catch the stretch reflex at the bottom of your squat to give you more momentum, think of yourself jumping up, Move that ASS!
  • Push And Snap – once you are coming out of the squat use the momentum of your legs with your arms to push the kettlebell above your head, it should be almost a snapping motion, you need to be fast and explosive, push with all you have got, Go On Son!

These Tips Will Make Sure You Don’t Miss Any Rugby Matches Because You Got Injured Training Like A Silly Goose:

  1. Rounding your lower back is a BIG NO NO – straight back at all times please!
  2. Keep your abs tight and engaged big breath in, expand your diaphragm, exhale as you move through the sticking point of the exercise
  3. Look up and keep your chest up – throughout the entire movement, eyes up very important, don’t even think of looking at the floor mister

 How To Perform Kettlebell Thruster – Look How This Pro Does It!

Cossack Squat

The Cossack squat named after those funny dancing Russians. Fortunately, it is a whole lot easier than the dance but this exercise still requires quite a bit of mobility. Persevere my son because if you perform these squats you will have legs that will burst through any rugby tackle. Cossack squats will help you develop your:

• Hammies

• Bum

• Quads

• Core – we all know how important your core is

To Perform A Textbook Cossack Squat So You Will Not Only Be Able To Score More Tries But You Will Also Be Able To Celebrate Your Game Winning Try With A Little Dance Move (probably better to save the dancing for the pub after the game):

  • Stand with your feet wide apart – with toes slightly pointing outwards
  • Put Weight on one leg – onto the one you are going to squat 
  • Squat – point your knees outwards and forwards
  • Go down – ass to grass if possible, feel a deep stretch
  • Drive – up from the center of your foot and stand to complete the movement

These are tough to do. After practicing for a month or two you will be cossack squatting ass to grass and building those legs.

How To Perform Cossack Squat

Turkish Get Up

The Turks aren’t known for their rugby skills but they have developed an exercise that will get your abs popping and your teammates asking if your core is made of iron. This exercise is challenging but as abs are such an important part of rugby with all movements requiring a strong core the pain of performing Turkish get ups will be worth it.

To Perform A Turkish Get Up So Good That Your Rugby Mates Will Be Calling You Mr. Ataturk:

  • Place the kettlebell next to shoulder
  • Lay on side and grab kettlebell
  • Place the kettlebell on stomach
  • Press the kettlebell with one hand – fully lock out press
  • Bend knee – of leg opposite to kettlebell
  • Get up on one arm – arm should be at a 45 degree angle
  • Drive with your feet and hips – lift hips off ground
  • Sweep Leg – under your body, should end up next to your hand which is on the ground
  • Move body upright – take hand off the floor
  • Move Leg – that is grounded in a windshield wiper movement until both legs are parallel, ending up in lunge position
  • Drive – off your back foot, through your hips and finally stand up from lunge position

How To Perform Turkish Get Up

Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is one of the most popular kettlebell exercises and it will pump up those legs and arms so not only will you be able to run over people on the rugby pitch but you will be able to palm and stiff arm them. If you are a rugby player you can’t mess up too badly by adding this movement to your regime.

To Perform A Textbook Kettlebell Swing:

  • Kettlebell in front of you – between your legs
  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  • Slightly bend knees with hips hinged
  • Drive – pick up kettlebell, swing it between your legs, as it is coming back between your legs snap and drive with your hips as your back straightens, let your hips drive the bar up to shoulder height
  • Relax – let kettlebell return to starting position, between your legs
  • Repeat – you should aim for 10-20 reps per set, focus on performing every swing with great form


  • Don’t use too much upper body – your arms are weak ( I know you are a big strong rugby lad but compared to your legs and back they are pathetic), this can also lead to back issues
  • Snap and drive the hips – this is where your power comes from, it’s all in the hips asked your missus
  • Put your entire weight into the movement – use those big powerful glutes, hamstrings and legs to drive the weight, god turned you into a big lump so use your gifts
  • Keep the kettlebell close to your body –  the further away it is the heavier it will feel and the less power you can generate, rugby training is hard enough so don’t make your strength work harder than it has to be, keep it tight son!

How To Perform Kettlebell Swing

Grappler’s Row

If you want to build a back like Samson and turn yourself into an immovable boulder when you are setting up camp over a ruck then you need to be doing grappler’s rows.

To Perform A Textbook Grappler’s Row:

  • Place one foot in front of the other – get into a wrestling stance with legs bent, back straight, head up, one foot in front of the other
  • Pick up kettlebell- only a couple of inches off the ground
  • Keep arms relaxed – do not use your arms only your back, if your arms are burning you are messing it up
  • Row – just like a bentover row, pull the weight towards your chest using your back muscles

How To Perform Grappler’s Row

How Often Should I Do Kettlebells For Rugby?

To see a rapid increase in your rugby on field performance you should be training kettlebells minimum twice a week and maximum 4 times a week. If you combine your kettlebell training with scheduled rugby practice you will be on the fast track to signing a pro contract and not being a perpetual embarrassment to your family.

If you stick with the regime mentioned above don’t be surprised if your teammates start asking you if you are on the gear because you are going to feel like you are made out of rock. Your strength levels will be pumping and your teammates are going to be bouncing off you during tackling drills.

How Long Should I Do Kettlebells For Rugby?

Your kettlebell practices should run for at least 45 minutes and last for a maximum of 90 minutes. If you are planning on working on strength and using heavy weights for low reps then your workout should be longer as you will need to incorporate longer rest periods. If you are focusing on cardio then your training sessions should be 45-60 minutes as you should reduce rest periods and focus on longer, lighter sets.

Will Kettlebells Make Me Strong For Rugby?

Kettlebells will make you strong as an ox for rugby. Kettlebells will boost your muscular endurance, your muscles and your power. Kettlebells are an all round workout which force all of the muscles in your body to work, making them a great tool to build size and get strong.

Kettlebells can be used to isolate particular body parts and as they come in a variety of weights you pick and choose how much stress you put on your muscles. This allows you to build certain body parts and work on endurance, hypertrophy or strength.


If you want to turn yourself into a big rugby brute then start picking up some kettlebells. Kettlebells will increase your strength, cardio and your muscle mass. The great thing about kettlebells is how efficient they are. You will see noticeable results from just three 45 minute sessions a week.

As we all know rugby requires a strong core, shoulders, back and legs. If you want to develop these areas of your body then Turkish getups, Cossack squats, grappler’s rows, kettlebell thrusters are the exercises you want to be smashing out. If you are looking for an efficient and effective way to increase your strength and cardio so you can dominate on the rugby pitch then you need to be tossing around kettlebells.

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