In part one looking at rugby strength training we introduced the basic concept of the Tower of Power.  It is a body position commonly referred to in rugby as being the desirable body position to adopt before executing many skills associated with the sport. Here we look at the key muscles involved and exercises that may be used to developed them.

To recap, the key features of the TOP body position are as follows:

  1. Feet between hip width and shoulder width apart, with weight evenly distributed evenly between heels and balls of feet. Toes pointing forward
  2. ‘Sit Back’ with flexed hips and knees until centre of gravity is stable over the base of support. This knee angle places the powerful quadriceps muscle groups and hip extensors (hamstrings and gluteals) in a mechanically strong angle.
  3. Torso in bent forward between 0-35 degrees to the horizontal, i.e. almost parallel to the ground. The back is flat through activation of the deep core muscles and anterior pelvic tilt so that the whole spine is in line.
  4. The elbows are drawn skyward and the arms should be close to the body. This is achieved by squeezing the shoulder blades together, through contraction of the Rhomboid muscles. Care must be taken to ensure that the shoulders are not drawn up by contracting the trapezius and levator scapulae muscles.
  5. The neck is placed in line with the rest of the spine, head in a neutral position. This requires the athlete to look up ‘through their eyebrows’ in order to see ahead.


Rugby Strength Training to develop TOP

The following exercises, whilst by no means an exhaustive list, can be used to develop the muscles involved in adopting the TOP body position.


Back Squat




Bent Forward Row:


NK Fitness are an experienced strength and conditioning coach in London, Berkshire and Surrey. If you would like to discuss the strength and conditioning needs of an individual or team then please contact us.

This article was written by personal fitness trainer Nathan Kelly – find on Google+