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Rugby for beginners

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Rugby is a fast dynamic game requiring exceptional levels of hand-eye coordination, communication skills, mental toughness and excellent levels of strength, speed, power and agility.

This article is going to focus on individual training to be carried out away from the practice field that will improve your strength, speed, power and agility associated with rugby.

As a beginner to rugby your main focus of individual training should be your core stability and base fitness. Your core stability muscles are the intrinsic muscles that are responsible for posture, mobility and joint stability, and allow you to generate power by maximising the efficiency of your muscular effort. In other words you will be able to run faster, tackle harder and move more agile.

Your base fitness is your foundation aerobic fitness on which you add more intense weight training, sprint training and interval training. As you well know rugby requires continuous changes in energy pathways where aerobic and anaerobic energy systems are interchanging all the time as well as being pushed to the limit. Having a sound base fitness enables a player to build and focus on their demanding anaerobic energy systems.

Weight training for a beginner to rugby is not necessary. Too many novice players want to imitate professional players who are very big and muscular and therefore commence a heavy and vigorous weights training program and totally ignore building on their core stability and base fitness. This will only make you an unfit rugby player but also cause unnecessary injury and despair.

Core Stability

The intrinsic muscles that aid core stability are the muscles surrounding the spine, notably the erector spinae group, deep abdominal muscles e.g. transversus abdominus, small back muscles e.g. multifidus and the gluteals.

Swiss ball exercises provide the best core stability workouts. Yes I said Swiss ball. Believe it or not but most professional rugby clubs have Swiss ball sessions in order to maintain their high levels of core stability. Even Jonah Lomu uses a Swiss ball for his core stability training. If your gym does not have a Swiss ball then I recommend purchasing one as they are very cheap and do wonders for your over all fitness.

The following eight Swiss ball exercises are designed to improve your core strength as well as coordination, balance and flexibility. They will also help stabilize your spine to prevent injury to the lower back and hips, a common problem among rugby players.


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