As a rugby player, you’ll be aware that stretching is vital for remaining in optimal physical condition. Here is a look at what strengths and skills are required to be successful on the pitch and how stretching can complement this.
Rugby is undoubtedly a tough sport. It involves a lot of running, speed and agility. Players need to have good cardiovascular and muscular strength, as well as a strong core. This can be achieved by dedication and training both on the pitch and in rugby training drills.
In rugby, the most important muscles are:
-Those found in the hips and upper legs; these are made up of the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, calf muscles, gastrocnemius and soleus
-Muscles in the neck and trapezius.
-Muscles that make up a person’s core; these are the spinal erectors, the rectus abdominus and the obliques.
-Shoulder girdle muscles; these are the pectorals, latissimus dorsi and deltoids.
Stretch it out
Take a look at some helpful pointers when training, such as those found at Sportplan, and always be sure to do some stretches first. Here are some good options.
First, you need to get yourself into a stretch position where you feel a tension of 7 out of 10; hold it for approximately 20 to 30 seconds, relax, breathe and repeat.
The shoulder stretch: Place your hand behind your back, then between your shoulder blades and reach up.
Lying knee roll-over stretch: Lie on your back, and with bended knees, let your knees fall to one side of your body. Your arms should be positioned out to the side and your hips and back rotate with the knees.
The kneeling hip and quad stretch: Kneel on one of your feet and the opposite knee, and then push your hips forward. Hold on to something if you have trouble keeping your balance!
These stretches, if they are done regularly and correctly, can have both a positive impact on your strength and on your game. Of course, there are a lot more stretches you could introduce into your training regime, but these will certainly make for a good start. All of them can help prevent injury, improve performance and rehabilitate any sprains and strains. Incorporate them into your post rugby training for the best results or simply do them as standalone stretching.