The Application of High-Intensity Interval Training for Rugby Union

Gain a Competitive Edge for Your Athletes, Your Team, and Yourself

After completing this HIIT course, you’ll know:

The unique factors of the sport (and variations) that need to be considered when applying high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Physical performance contributions (speed, strength, endurance) to the sport.

Aerobic oxidative, anaerobic glycolytic metabolic response, neuromuscular and musculoskeletal strain targets as applicable to the sport and athlete.

The different HIIT types applicable to the sport based on the physiological targets.

How to apply manipulations of HIIT variables to optimize the training program for sport and athlete variations.

Surveillance and monitoring tools used to assess external and internal training load and training load response.

How to incorporate HIIT into your training programs with context of sport and athlete-specific variations.

Course Description

The Practical Application of High-Intensity Interval Training for Rugby Union course teaches how to effectively implement High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to take performance to the next level.

This course focuses on the unique aspects of your sport, the skill and physiological requirements needed to successfully perform at a high level, and the key HIIT methods to apply in order to elicit the desired physiological responses for optimal training adaptation and performance.

While the course includes theoretical knowledge to facilitate understanding, it mostly focuses on the practical application to help you build true mastery so you can deliver measurable gains on the playing field, and not just in the lab. The expert instructors present specific tools, tactics and performance indicators to tailor HIIT to your particular context with detailed surveillance methods and training plan examples that they have developed over years of hands-on coaching of elite athletes.

2 hours on-demand video

Full lifetime access

Access across devices

Course Content

Part 1: Description of the Sport and Factors of Winning

Topics covered:

  • Description of the sport
  • The history and evolution of the sport
  • The unique factors of the sport (and variations) that need to be considered when developing/optimizing a training program
  • Factors of winning: physical, skills and tactics
  • Physical performance contributions to the sport: speed, strength and endurance

Lesson duration: 22:08

Part 2: Targets of Physical Performance

Topics covered:

  • Targets of physical performance for the sport: speed, strength and endurance
  • Aerobic oxidative targets (with discussion on VO2max, the respiratory system, circulatory system, tissue deoxygenation) as applicable
  • Anaerobic glycolytic metabolic response targets as applicable
  • Neuromuscular and musculoskeletal strain targets as applicable
  • Specific target modifications for key sport and athlete variations

Lesson duration: 23:43

Part 3: Key HIIT Weapons and Their Manipulations

Topics covered:

  • Polarized training
  • The different HIIT weapons applicable to the sport (long and short intervals, repeated sprints, sprint intervals and game-based HIIT) based on the physiological targets
  • Manipulations of HIIT variables to optimize training:
    • Intensity/duration
    • Recovery period intensity/duration
    • Number of intervals
    • Series duration
    • Between series recovery intensity/duration
    • Total work performed
    • Exercise mode and ground surface for run-based HIIT
    • Environmental conditions
    • Nutritional status
  • Specificity – manipulating training to match demands of sport variation or athlete variation

Lesson duration: 32:37

Part 4: Incorporation of HIIT, Surveillance and Training Plan Examples

Topics covered:

  • Surveillance and monitoring tools used in the sport
  • External and internal training load
  • Polarization training model and assessment
  • Assessing response to training load
  • Controllable and uncontrollable factors of training
  • Sample training programs sport variation or athlete-specific variations
  • Sample training programs for seasonal training, travel, and competition events

Lesson duration: 33:41

About the Instructors

Dr Nicholas Gill

Dr Nicholas Gill

Strength & Conditioning Coach - All Blacks New Zealand Rugby | Associate Professor in Human Performance | Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance | University of Waikato


Instagram: nicgill_health_and_performance

I am a professional strength and conditioning coach and sport scientist.  I have been working in rugby for 17 years. For the last eleven years I have been the strength and conditioning coach for the New Zealand All Blacks, a period of international success for the team which has included more than 130 rugby test wins and the World Cup title in 2011 and 2015.

I continue to research many areas of human performance at the University of Waikato, constantly refining and evolving my philosophy for being fit and healthy and having the ‘winning edge’ in life and in competition.

I have used HIIT in my own training as well as with the athletes I work with.   The blend of HIIT with strength, power, and speed is vital for any athlete wanting to consistently perform on the world stage.

All Blacks S&C Coach 2008 – present

Associate Professor Human Performance
University of Waikato  2017 – present

Bike New Zealand
2014-2015:  Strength & Conditioning Coach for NZ Olympic Track Endurance Team (Mens & Women’s Team Pursuit)

Auckland University of Technology
2014 – 2017 Associate Professor, School of Sport and Recreation
2011 – 2014 Senior Research Fellow, School of Sport and Recreation
2007 – 2011 Research Fellow, School of Sport and Recreation

Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec)
2001-2008 Senior Lecturer
2003-2006 Research Co-ordinator

New Zealand Rugby Union
All Blacks
2004-2005: Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach

Junior All Blacks (New Zealand Rugby Union)
2005 – 2007:  Strength and Conditioning Coach

High Performance Unit
2005-2007:   Sport Scientist & Research Advisor

Chiefs Super Rugby Franchise
2004-2008: Chiefs Super 12/14 Strength and Conditioning Coach

Dr Martyn Beaven

Dr Martyn Beaven

Senior Research Fellow, University of Waikato

My career has focused on understanding how individuals respond to various exercise stimuli and striving to maximize functional adaptation and recovery. I have been privileged to be involved with a wide range of elite sports teams as well as talented and dedicated sports scientists with a breadth of experience across physiology, nutrition, biochemistry, injury prevention, and biomechanics. HIIT weapons have formed an integral part of the training puzzle. My career highlight remains the time I spent working with paralympians during my time in Malaysia and to contribute in some small way to their world-beating achievements at the Rio Olympics.
Bachelor of Science & Technology (Chemistry)

PhD with New Zealand Rugby Union in exercise physiology & recovery

Post-doc at the Swedish National Wintersport Centre

Former Strength & Conditioning for Östersund Ice Hockey Club

Former Lead exercise physiologist at Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab

Former Head of Strength & Conditioning, Malaysian National Sports Institute

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Some Frequently Asked Questions

Who is this HIIT Course for?

Whether you’re a student just starting your job search or a seasoned professional looking to add HIIT to your training arsenal, we’ve included everything you need to understand the science behind and practical application of HIIT.

Are there any prerequisites for the course?

While there aren’t any specific prerequisites for this course, we do use a lot of sport-science related technical language.

How is course content accessed/delivered?

All course material is available through our easy-to-use online platform.

Once in enrolled, you get instant access to the video lectures so you can progress through the course at your own pace. Each lecture also has lesson comments to ask/answer questions and interact with your instructors and fellow students.

Will I get any support or individual attention?

Of course! There are discussion sections for each lesson where you can ask questions or leave comments and engage with your instructors and fellow students. You also have email access to the instructors.

And if you have any technical issues accessing the course content, you can always email us at – we’ll get you back to learning in no time.

How long will I have access to the content?

When you enroll in HIIT Course, you’ll get instant, lifetime access to all course content so you can take the course at your own pace and come back as often as you need to refresh your knowledge.

Will I receive Continuing Education Credits for this course?

No. We do not offer CEUs for this individual sport course.

However, if you are looking to earn CEUs about HIIT, you can earn CEUs for the larger Science and Application of High-Intensity Interval Training course. That course offers a Certificate of Completion and you’ll earn National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Continuing Education credit hours as well as endorsed credits from BASES.

What if I sign up and decide the course is not right for me?

If you’re not 100% satisfied in your investment in the course, we’ll refund 100% of what you’ve paid if you make a request within 45 days of enrollment.

No questions asked.

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