Bedford Blues boss Mike Rayer has said his side can add "1%" to last year's performance with improved fitness.
The Blues barely put a foot wrong last term as they reached the play-off semi-finals and British & Irish Cup final.
"For us, being essentially a part-time side, it's about improvements in the strength and conditioning department," Rayer told BBC Three Counties Radio.
"The bar's gone up all over the place, it's just about making a 1% improvement across the board."
He added: "The lads have worked really hard this summer.
"We do a lot of skill work from a rugby perspective, and we've got very good individual players here, we're trying to mould them into a team.
"We've got some great examples setting the standards, like Sacha Harding and Paul Tupai, it's up to the guys to roll along with them and even push them."
The Goldington Road side kicked off the new Championship campaign with a win last Saturday, edging out Nottingham 28-26 at Meadow Lane.
Handre Schmidt, Sean Tomes and new signing Dave Vincent got themselves on the scoresheet, notching the three Blues' tries.
"I think all the newcomers made a significant contribution to the performance, but for Dave that's what wingers want to do, they want to score tries, it helps them settle in more quickly," Rayer continued.
"And on the other wing it was great to see Handre in the groove, picking up where he left off last year."