Prehab for Rugby...and Life

March 20, 2017

No matter at what level we play, injuries are inevitable due to the unfortunately brutal nature of our sport. However, certain injuries we acquire on the pitch are due to individual poor movement patterns, muscular imbalances, posture and poor flexibility and mobility. All of these risk factors are preventable and fixable with the use of prehabilitation exercises.

Professional players go through regular movement screening to identify any movement flaws they might have, so that corrective exercises can be prescribed to ensure these problems don’t manifest themselves to injury.

Likewise, testing is performed for flexibility, mobility, stability and any muscular imbalances and strength ratios are identified, therefore reducing the risk of injury.

Unfortunately, at amateur level, you do not receive this kind of screening, so unless you are fortunate enough to have your own Personal Trainer, it is up to you to lead the professional approach and tick all the boxes.

Playing at grassroots level also poses another threat – It means that rugby is your hobby and so you will spend all day at work, usually sat at your desk in an office or maybe doing some kind of repetitive heavy labouring duties.

Over time, all of these poor habits and front focused lifestyle factors result in poor posture (such as hunched back or rounded shoulders) and muscular imbalances, which have the potential to cause injury, whether it be on the pitch or in the gym.

By incorporating the following programmes into your routine you will improve quality of movement, fix any imbalances, and ultimately realign your body for optimum performance and increased efficiency within daily life activities.

Upper Body Rehab

As I mentioned, each individual will have their own specific weaknesses and areas of attention, however, as we have no means of screening I have selected exercises that I believe the general population would benefit from and those that are specific to Rugby.

The most common injuries to the upper body in Rugby are that of the rotator cuff in the shoulder. We also live in a world that is anterior (front) dominant, such as sitting, and all too often I see too many sessions in the gym featuring all ‘Push’ and no ‘Pull’, focussing mainly on the mirror muscles (that is muscles that can only be seen in the mirror). Too many people neglect their posterior (back) chain resulting in imbalances and an injury waiting to happen.

The programme therefore targets shoulder/scapular health, strengthening of the upper posterior muscles, thoracic mobility and core stability. 

To be completed once a week after an upper body session or as a stand alone workout:

ORDER

                                   EXERCISE

REPS

SETS

A1

Wall Slides

12

2

A2

Band Pull Aparts

12

2

A3

Band Facepulls

12

2

B1

Push up hold with alternating shoulder taps

12

2

B2

Scap Pushups

12

2

C1

Quadruped Extension Rotation

6 p/side

2

C2

Side lying Windmill

6 p/side

2

D

Cable External rotation at 90 degrees(half kneeling)

12

2

E1

TRX – I,Y,T,W’s (if no TRX – prone gym ball I,Y,T,W)

5 each

1

E2

Bird Dog

30 sec each

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Bands and weight used are of very little resistance – These exercises are by no means training to failure.

Lower Body Prehab

Most common injuries to the lower body in Rugby occur in the knee and ankle, and again a lot of these can be avoided by improving mobility, firing the correct muscles and being balanced with programming. Most people neglect the unilateral aspect of training and focus more on bilateral – that is doing everything on 2 feet.

To be completed once a week after a lower body session or as a stand alone workout.

ORDER

                                   EXERCISE

REPS

SETS

A1

Mini band lateral walks

12 a side

2

A2

Mini band squats

12

2

B1

Grab – lunge- overhead stretch

6 each side

2

B2

Alternating pigeon

6 each side

2

C1

Bridge with overhead reach

12

2

C2

Cossack squat

6 each side

2

D1

Single leg sit to stand

12

2

D1

Single leg deadlift

12

2

E1

Side plank with abduction

30sec each

1

E2

Reverse plank with leg lift

30 sec each

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Bands and weight used are of very little resistance – These exercises are by no means training to failure.

FINAL WORDS...

A while ago i was fortunate enough to spend some time with the New Zealand Rugby Team in the UK, observing and learning from their sessions.

The major thing that struck me was their dedication to Prehab and Rehab. Sonny Bill Williams would be out on the pitch long after everybody else was back in the sheds, continuously going through mobility after mobility drill and performing prehabilitation exercises similar to the above.

They may not be the most exciting and imaginative exercises or workouts to do, but they are of extreme importance and totally necessary should you want to perform at your best and to reduce your rate of injuries.

‘’It’s those 1 percenters and extras that add up to make a huge difference.’’

- Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand World Cup Winner)


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