Many people base their strength and conditioning training on muscle groups (Legs day, Chest day, Back day, Arms day etc) but this is flawed as muscles need to work together to produce movement so really we should train movements not muscles, writes Simon Nainby.
There are 6 basic movement patterns that we all use in our daily lives and when playing rugby. They are:
Squat, Bend, Push, Pull, Twist and Single Leg
Practising good form in these patterns in the gym will allow the moves to become second nature so that when under pressure in a game you will find it second nature to hit a ruck with a flat back or land from a lineout without turning your knees and ankles in.
Knowing these movement patterns and the exercises that train them will help you plan your training sessions to ensure you are efficient in what you do on the pitch
- Squat: This is a key movement pattern for virtually all sports. It builds strength primarily in the legs and hips (but also core strength) but importantly it develops balance, co-ordination and even flexibility. Done properly squats will help prevent injury as they strengthen the hips, knees and ankles to stay in the correct alignment.
Click below for sample exercises:
- Bend: Bending at the waist is something we constantly do in rugby as we pick up a ball, tackle, hit a ruck or scrummage or before we jump. It is also a major source of injury and back pain so learning to keep a natural curve in the lower back as we bend and shoulders squeezed back is very important.
- Push: The upper body movement of pushing an object away from the body or the body away from an object such as a hand off . There are 2 forms of push – horizontal (arms in front of the chest) and vertical (arms above the head) and they can be done with one hand or two.
Vertical: Overhead Press
- Pull: An upper body movement pulling the body towards something or pulling something towards the body. Again this can be horizontal or vertical and one hand or two.
Horizontal: Bent Over Row
Vertical: Chin Ups
- Single Leg: Anything done on one leg which for the most part is running but also includes the following exercises:
- Twist: Rugby involves not only twisting through the torso such as when passing but also resisting twisting movements such as props resisting each other in a scrummage.
Twists: Medicine Ball Twist
Resisting Twists: Planks
- Combos: Once you have good technique in each pattern you can start putting them together in combination exercises that work more than one pattern just as happens on the pitch.