Performance for 7s

April 12, 2017

2016 saw an exciting time for rugby 7s as the Olympics welcomed the sport back with open arms. Rio was an amazing event that showcased all the sport’s best players through matches of the highest level.

A version of the rugby that is much faster, encourages more audacious skills to be demonstrated by both individuals and teams, and provides loads of tries for fans to enjoy. Yet, what are the key conditioning factors which differentiate the 15 a side game and the 7s?

The key elements of 7s are explosive strength, speed and interval fitness.

With only 7 minutes played per half and only 14 players on a full sized pitch, there is plenty of movement, fewer breakdowns and more line breaks; thus all of the above are vital.

Developing fast twitch muscle fibres in the gym requires a good, full body resistance program balanced with intervals of speed play. What can we do to get the best results from our training time when we are grassroots rugby players, who don’t have the luxury of training full time?

To build up the explosive strength, I’ve picked the 4 best barbell exercises that’ll give maximum results:

  • Deadlifts
  • Bench Press
  • Power Squats
  • Clean & Press

Follow a good circuit of these with some speed and agility work and your well on your way to a 7s performance!

Try this for size...


  • Deadlifts: 3 sets 6-8 reps
  • Bench Press: 3 sets 6-8 reps
  • Power Squats: 3 sets 6-8 reps
  • Clean & Press: 3 sets 6-8 reps


75% effort, 50% effort, 90% effort followed by 20% effort continuously changing every 20 seconds for 7 minutes.

Finish your session off on the speed ladder with a variety of drills ending with a flexibility session to aid recovery, allow muscle development and reduce risk of injury.

Want to keep it varied?

Split your exercises and increase sets:-

Training day one

  • Deadlifts for 5 sets
  • Power squats for 5 sets
  • Speed work on treadmill
  • Ladder drills
  • Flexibility

Training day two

  • Clean and press for 5 sets
  • Bench press for 5 sets
  • Speed work on aero bike
  • Ladder drills
  • Flexibility

Keep all resistance work to between 6-8 reps to really emphasise that explosive strength and stamina and keep all speed work to 7 minutes and flexibility work to 30 seconds per stretch

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