Before playing any sport or undertaking exercise, properly warming up your body is essential. In terms of playing rugby, a high contact sport, this becomes even more important to avoid the potential for injury. Warming up prepares players for high octane performance, moving their body efficiently and reducing injury risk. Here are some great tips for getting your players rugby ready:
A good warm up should last for at least 15 minutes, longer if necessary for a sport like rugby. It must be adaptable for either meeting the needs of a match or for use at the start of a training session. An effective warm up should begin at low intensity, gradually building up to more specific exercises and an increased intensity level. This will help players to prepare for the range of movement in a match or training session. Find new exercises and Rugby Drill Training videos at https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/
The benefits of an effective warm up include:
Increasing the body temperature to allow muscles to become more flexible and elastic, making movement more efficient.
Activating the key muscle groups.
Stimulating the heart and lungs, making pulse and breathing rates increase.
Stimulating the nervous system to improve speed and reaction times.
Improving players’ co-ordination.
Preparing players mentally.
A warm up should include three phases:
The start of the warm up should include something fun and cardio related to get the blood pumping. Perhaps some light jogging on the spot to loosen up muscle groups and the mobility of the joints. Anything that gently starts warming up the body, getting the player prepared and ready for physical activity and sharpening mental alertness.
Examples of exercises that are good for the general mobility stage include squats, lunge twists, back slaps and standing lateral lunges.
The second phase of warming up should include transit mobility exercises. These have a higher level of intensity and concentrate on movements that require the player to move a further distance. Any stretches and exercises should be dynamic, not static at this stage.
Examples of effective transit mobility exercises include walking lunges, walking carioca, walking high knee stretch and quad stretches or kicks.
- Skills Preparation
This is a very useful phase as not only does it act as a warm up but also helps to develop the skills of a player at the same time. It’s a good idea to incorporate some technical skills into a warm up phase, especially if this skill will be featuring in the following training session. This part of the warm up can be done as pair work or working in groups to focus on specific skills such as tackling, scrums and lineouts.