The rugby season is nearly over. If you’ve been lucky enough to remain injury free so far, I’d wager you’re being held together by physio tape and painkillers. My hat goes off to you if you are still going strong. It’s a rare thing at this time of the year for rugby players.
We’ve already covered the fundamentals of how to gain strength and develop your conditioning during the rugby season. Now it’s time to look at how to remain fit and free from injury year-round. In this article, I’m going to give you some information on injury prevention and some exercises to get you started.
The best way to prevent injury is to add two types of exercise into your programme: mobility work, and prehabilitation training. Let’s take a look at mobility work first.
Mobility work challenges your range of motion and prepares you for the positions you’ll be pushed into on game day.
Mobility: More Than Just Foam Rolling
Mobility work is becoming increasingly popular to improve your movement, and thankfully so. But this doesn’t mean just doing some soft tissue work on a foam roller. Good mobility work means getting warm and moving through your full range of motion on a regular basis. You need to challenge your body’s existing range to decrease the chance of being tackled or pushed into a compromising position that’ll hurt you on the pitch.
The Ready For Rugby Mobility Warm-Up
I’ve put together the routine below to help you improve your mobility, movement quality, and range of motion. These movements focus on key problem areas for rugby players such as the hamstrings, hips, shoulders, and trunk. Use this routine to warm up before you train. Watch the video demonstrations if you’re unsure of any of the movements.
To begin with, jump on a watt bike/rower/treadmill for around 500m at a comfortable pace or around 50-60% of a maximal effort.
- 5 Bodyweight Squats
- 5 Pogo Jumps
- 5 Reverse Lunge with Overhead Reach (each side)
- 5 Sectional Spine Rollouts Into Hand Walkouts with Push Up
- 10m Bear Crawl
- 5 Full Arm Plank Shoulder Touches (each side)
- 5 Mountain Climber with Trunk Rotation (each side)
- 5 Downward Facing Dog into Vinyasa Sweep
- 5 TRX Row
- Make sure your knees track over your toes.
- Maintain an upright torso.
- Keep your weight on your heels.
- Rock back on your heels, allowing your toes to raise.
- Roll forwards onto your toes and spring into the air.
- Point your toes at the top of each repetition.
Reverse Lunge with Overhead Reach
- Keep a wide base with your toes tracking forward.
- Perform a deep lunge with your knee close to, but not actually touching, the floor.
- Reach both arms overhead and arch your back, keeping your head through your shoulders.
Sectional Spine Roll into Hand Walkouts with Push Up
- Focus on rolling your spine down section by section, slowly and with control.
- Reach your hands to the floor.
- Perform a controlled walk out.
- Maintain a strong posture in the push up.