Are deadlifts good for rugby? Benefits and Drawbacks

Are deadlifts good for rugby?

There are numerous debates over the ideal workouts for ruggers. Are deadlifts good for rugby? Each strength coach has their own preferences, and many of them hold opposing ideologies.

The majority of rugby strength coaches choose more conventional and diverse training techniques. And many of those trainers recommend including the deadlift in your training.

But would improving your deadlift help you perform better on the rugby field? Are deadlifts good for rugby?

The quick response is probably.

Why was your response so evasive? because it is impossible to measure such a relationship. Even if you add plates to the bar, your rugby performance will suffer if practicing for a greater deadlift means skipping team practice.

Similar to how giving up deadlifting would make you less likely to be injured, your rugby performance would improve.

You might potentially boost your deadlift by donning a powerlifting deadlift outfit and belt. Your rugby performance won’t be impacted by that either.

But given everything else being equal, rugby SHOULD benefit from a better deadlift. This is why:

A more durable posterior chain

A more durable posterior chain


The muscles on the rear of your body, including your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, are together referred to as the posterior chain. The muscles that propel you ahead are those. The posterior chain is your “engine room,” whether you are in the scrum, running for the line to score a try, or making a major tackle.

Exercises for the posterior chain include deadlifts. While your quadriceps participate in deadlifts, your posterior chain is responsible for most of the work.

Increased hip extension strength should result from a greater deadlift, allowing you to push, drive, and tackle more forcefully.

Of course, there are additional posterior chain movements you may perform, such as Romanian deadlifts, power cleans, hip thrusts, and kettlebell swings. However, the common off-the-deck barbell deadlift is a more practical lift for many ruggers.

Are deadlifts good for rugby?

An improvement in joint and muscle coordination

It is a complex workout to deadlift. This implies that various joints and muscle groups are used. In fact, it would be difficult to identify many muscles and joints that the deadlift DOES NOT involve.

The deadlift can be considered a full-body exercise.

As a result, deadlifting improves inter-joint and inter-muscular coordination by teaching you to use your body as a single, synergistic unit. Rugby is a full-body sport, therefore increasing your deadlift should improve your athletic performance.

With the deadlift, you grab the bar with your hands, plant your feet firmly on the ground, and then lift the weight with everything in your body in between. There aren’t many more practical exercises than that!

Are deadlifts good for rugby?

Improved Lifting Techniques

Power cleans, in the opinion of some strength coaches, are preferable to deadlifts for ruggers. This makes a lot of sense because power cleans are executed quickly, just like many rugby moves. You don’t tackle slowly or attempt to force the enemy back slowly, after all. They get smacked quickly and brutally.

The power clean may be a preferable exercise for this aim.

A power clean, however, begins with a quick deadlift. You probably won’t be able to power clean properly either if you can’t perform a deadlift with proper form. Additionally, a poorly executed power clean is very likely to result in injury because it is a high-velocity exercise.

When performed correctly, deadlifts teach you how to lift weights safely. In order to transfer the forces created by your legs into the object you are lifting, your lower back should be slightly but tightly arched, your abs braced, and your core engaged.

The abilities you gain from mastering the deadlift should transfer to other areas of your training as well as rugby. It’s very easy to get harmed when you push into a maul with a rounded back, especially if a player charges in from behind you. The same holds true for tackling and scrummaging. A solid deadlift teaches you to keep your spine neutral, which boosts your ability to generate force while lowering your risk of injury.

If you can’t deadlift properly, you probably won’t be able to power clean properly either. Power cleans are a little more rugby-specific. Additionally, you should be able to power clean more weight the more deadlifting you can do. The opposite might not be as accurate.

There is no right or wrong answer because both of these lifts have their advantages. Simply put, since deadlifts are the cornerstone of a properly executed power clean, they should come first.

The Negative Effects Of Deadlifting For Ruggers

It seems very obvious that a powerful deadlift ought to enhance your rugby performance. But in other circumstances, that might not be totally accurate. The following are some drawbacks of this exercise:

Impossible for tall lifters

The bar should be positioned around nine inches off the ground using typical Olympic bumper plates. You can have trouble going down that low to deadlift with proper form if you’re particularly tall or have arms that are shorter than typical. For this reason, many tall powerlifters adopt a sumo posture, which makes it easier for them to approach the bar.

The good news is that this issue can be easily fixed by raising the bar and performing deadlifts from blocks. You are under no obligation to deadlift from the floor. To make the exercise simpler to learn, raise the bar to mid-shin height.

Are deadlifts good for rugby?

Impossible if you have low mobility

Ruggers are thought to be rigid and immobile. While not all rugby players can be claimed to be like that, quite a number can. Let’s face it, you weren’t created for gymnastic inversions; you were built for speed and strength.

As a result, some ruggers might find it difficult to get into a good lifting position due of tight hamstrings. Your mobility requires improvement if you frequently circle your back at the bottom of a deadlift, before you even raise the bar off the ground.

Raise the bar on blocks is the same remedy for this issue as it was for our lanky beanpole rugger. Be sure to focus on your mobility as well because this treatment simply treats the symptoms of the issue, not its root.

Biceps damage

A mixed grip is frequently used when deadlifting heavily. A mixed grip prevents the bar from slipping through your fingers by pronating one hand and supinating the other. However, it also puts more strain on the supinated side of the elbow joint, particularly where the biceps muscle inserts.

In order to achieve a greater deadlift, it is not worth the risk of suffering a torn biceps injury.

By performing deadlifts with a double overhand grip, you can get around this issue. Instead of using a mixed grip, strengthen your hold by using straps. It is irrelevant that your deadlift isn’t powerlifting legal, even though that is what this means. You are not a powerlifter training for a competition; rather, you are a rugger training to improve your athletic performance.


There are so many variables at play, there is no established deadlifting norm for ruggers. Height, age, weight, position, heredity, gender, and the length of the arm, torso, and legs are all factors. So, the question is “Are deadlifts good for rugby?” and the short answer is probably yes for anyone care about.

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