RUGBY: THE IDEAL WARM-UP 

You need to warm up properly to avoid picking up injuries and prepare yourself physically for a rugby match. We have some exercises to suggest to you.

Warming up is vital when it comes to playing rugby. It relaxes the muscles and tendons, reduces the risk of injury and allows muscles to be used to their full capacity. A warm muscle performs much better than a cold one. A good warm-up also allows the body to adapt to the weather conditions and helps the player prepare for the intensity of a match by increasing their concentration levels. A typical warm-up should last at least 30 minutes. 

 

 

 

1. Individual warm-up

We advise starting off with an individual warm-up as it will allow you to get your muscles loose at your own pace and to do so effectively. You should kick off by jogging gently for five minutes to loosen up your joints, gradually warm up your muscles and increase your body temperature. Then set up four cones at five-metre gaps for a series of drills. There are several types of drills:

- high knees

- butt kickers

- side-to-sides

- strides

Start off with high knees over a distance of five metres then move on to butt kickers over five metres and finish off with side-to-sides over ten metres , switching sides halfway through. Do three repetitions. Then run backwards for ten metres before turning around and sprinting hard for another ten metres. Do three repetitions here too. Then do bounding over 20 metres, building up to near maximum speed. Do two repetitions. Finish off by running two to three strides, rounding off with a sprint. 

Following these drills, your body will be ready to generate intense effort, though it will not yet be ready for tackling. To do that, you first of all need to loosen your shoulders by rotating them slowly backwards and forwards. Do at least eight of these movements for each shoulder. Then with arms outstretched and your palms facing upwards, do ten small quick rotations both forwards and backwards and three times in all. Finish off by lying down on the ground and performing six judo push-ups followed by six Spiderman push-ups.

You also need to loosen up the neck by performing six extensive rotations on each side. Then do six chin-to-chest stretches and six side-to-side head rotations.Then put your hand on your forehead and move your head up and down while pressing your forehead with your hand and then pressing the back of your head with your hand and then pressing each side of your head. Do two sets of eight movements on each side. 

To finish off your warm-up we recommend doing hits on a tackle bag held by a team-mate. 

 

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2. Team warm-up and ball-handling drills

With your individual warm-up over, it's time for the team warm-up. The warm-up is important for team bonding and for getting into the game. Get five players to line up, each with a tackle bag. Hit each bag once with each shoulder and then move round to play a 5 v 2 + 1 and start handling the ball. Do this twice per person. To finish off form a square with four cones positioned ten metres from each other and have a player stand at each corner. Place a ball on the ground at one corner. Make a pass, run to the player you have passed to. They will return it to you while staying where they are. You then pass to the next player and so on. Do this in one direction for two to three minutes and then in the other for the same amount of time. 

We then move on to backs and forwards warm-ups. The forwards mainly work on lineouts. The backs work on set-piece moves. The two groups then come together to take part in some general drills. The teams starts off with a static phase of play (lineout or scrum) and works on their game plan in front of a reduced defence, the idea being to check how organised they are when it comes to supporting the ball-carrier and making runs and calls. 

 

Now you're ready to play a match. So what's your warm-up routine?

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