Exercise modification for injured rugby players

Rugby is a tough sport, requiring strength and resilience and as a result, athletes who play at a high level, will inevitably get injured at some point. As with all injuries, often the solution is to rest, but many players find this frustrating and due to their competitive nature, are keen to get back to training as quickly as possible.

Once players have had the all clear from their medical team or GP that they can return to training, they should do so with caution and build up slowly, using the following as a guide.

Go slow

Using light to moderate weights will ensure strength is maintained without putting additional stress on joints and muscles. Athletes should opt for a weight between 30 – 50% lighter than their usual training weight and then lift the weight slowly, taking six seconds to lift and the same to lower, to a maximum of 8 repetitions.

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are a great way to build strength slowly and at your own pace, as the resistance increases gradually when the band is stretched. Bands are extremely versatile and can be used alongside weight training, or individually. Players and coaches looking for additional rugby training drills, can access exercise programmes suitable for all levels here https://www.sportplan.net/drills/rugby.

By using a band and wrapping it around a particular area of the body while exercising, the blood flow to that area will be restricted which increases testosterone and human growth hormone production. This type of training is best done on the arms and legs and the band should not be so tight that blood circulation is stopped, only reduced.


Isometrics is good for muscle injuries as is produces tension, but doesn’t involve moving joints. By pushing against a solid surface, muscle tension is increased, but with less stress on the body.


Athletes should be prepared to make modifications to their training schedule while they are recovering and make changes where necessary. By changing position, or replacing weights, pain levels can be reduced.

Tennis player Andy Murray has recently been discussing his return to tennis following back surgery and the effect this had on his training.


It is well documented that getting in the water is a great way to aid recovery due to the support and buoyancy of the water.