5 Exercises to Help Prep You for the Rugby Season

The Rugby season is almost upon us, so it’s important to look at what you're doing in your strength and conditioning program!
As we had anticipated, Certified Personal Trainer Jessika Sareault gives us her thoughts on a sport specific resistance training program that will help you build a solid foundation off the field and improve your athletic performance.

Here are a few exercises you can incorporate into your current resistance training program and how they will benefit you on the pitch.

Bread and Butter…

Deadlifts

deadlifts

A deadlift is a great multi-joint movement pattern that is a great marker for increase in overall strength and power output. Improving your deadlifts means more power and efficient leg and hip drive in a scrum or ruck, and harder tackles.

Focus:

  • Core strength/spinal stability
  • Shoulder strength/stability
  • Leg drive and Glute strength
  • Overall strength and power

Form:

  • Keep your core engaged and spine neutral throughout the entire movement
  • Engage your Lats to stabilize your shoulders
  • Engage your Glutes and drive your hips forward at the top of the lift
  • Ensure the bar moves in a straight path as its lifted
  • Instead of pulling the bar, think of driving your legs into the ground and pushing away from the floor

Turkish Get-Ups

Turkish Get-Ups

TGU’s are an incredibly dynamic movement. Although they can take some time to build up to, when done properly they have a wide range of benefits that makes them an important addition to your pre-season program. 

Focus: 

  • Shoulder strength/stability and control
  • Core strength/spinal stability
  • Leg strength/drive 
  • Body awareness

Form: 

  • Lie on your side with the weight close to your chest
  • Roll onto your back and press the weight until your arm is fully extended. If you are holding the weight in your right hand, your right leg should be bent
  • Drive your right foot into the ground and roll over onto your free elbow
  • Shift your weight to your hand and lift your hips off the ground
  • Slide your knee back so that it is in line with your planted hand and foot. Then come up into a half kneeling position
  • Brace your core, engage your Glute and drive off your plated foot to stand up
  • Repeat the steps in reverse to complete the movement pattern
  • Remember to keep the weight vertical over your shoulder with your elbow locked and arm straight throughout the movement
  • Try to keep spinal movement to a minimum

Bear Crawl

Bear Crawl

Forwards, this one is for you. Although doing bear crawls will benefit you whether you’re a flank or a full back; bear crawls are great for forwards because they have a lot in common with your positioning in a scrum. 

Focus: 

  • Core strength/spinal stability

Form:

  • Keep your back neutral and parallel to the floor
  • Avoid letting your hips rock from side to side
  • Step with left hand – right leg at the same time, then right hand – left leg
  • Drive hands into the floor as you step so that your shoulders don't wing
  • Engage core and exhale as you step

Lateral Wall Ball

Lateral Wall Ball

It's always important to have some variety in your workout routine. Lateral wall balls will not only give you well rounded abdominal strength, they will take your passing to the next level. After a few weeks of adding this exercise into your routine, you will be passing farther, faster and harder.

Focus: 

  • Rotational core strength
  • Explosive power
  • Conditioning

Form:

  • Stand side facing an arm’s length from the wall
  • Start with the medicine ball on the side of your body farthest away from the wall
  • Rotate your hips and shoulders as a unit as you throw the ball
  • Follow through and point your hands where you want the ball to go

Sled Push

Sled Push

Working sled pushes into your program will not only be fun, but it will increase your power output during a tackle, scrum or ruck. They will also help with your acceleration and speed when sprinting.

Focus: 

  • Explosive power
  • Conditioning 
  • Shoulder strength/stability
  • Leg strength/drive

Form: 

  • Keep back neutral
  • Drive from the ball of your foot
  • Fully extend your leg as you step

If you do not have access to the equipment needed for this exercise, it can be substituted with a partner band resisted sprint.

Put the ball down…

I love playing just as much as the next and we all know skills are very important when it comes to being a great rugby player. However, the goal of pre-season training for any athlete is to build as much joint stability, strength, power and speed as you possibly can before the season arrives while focussing on injury prevention. You don’t need to worry about being too tired to perform at your game on Saturday, so don’t be afraid to push the envelope in your strength training to see greater improvements.

Jessika Sareault
Certified Personal Trainer
Sports Conditioning Specialist
World Health Gateway