Rugby is a collision sport in which injuries occur, but there are some simple exercise routines which can help to minimise the chances of certain types of injuries. Areas of the body commonly injured in rugby players include ankles, knees and shoulders. The following links provide video examples of specific exercises designed to help minimise injuries by strengthening the ankles, knees, shoulders, neck and trunk.
This video is of a presentation by England U18 Team Doctor Andy Franklyn-Miller. Click on the following link to view the accompanying presentation (PDF 1MB).
Why is injury prevention important?
- To minimise loss of rugby training and playing time due to injury
- To improve performance as a rugby player by maximising training and playing time
- To reduce the risk of long-term physical damage
What can players do to prevent an injury?
- There are various strategies to prevent injury, one of which is performing specific exercises
How do specific exercises prevent injury?
- Both strength and coordination of muscles are required to allow a player's body to move in the correct way
- Moving correctly minimises the stress and strain put on a player's body, and therefore helps to prevent injury
- Players can improve the movement patterns in their body by performing specific exercises
- Building strength and mobility around certain joints can help to protect them against injury
What types of exercises help to prevent injury?
Exercises that help prevent injury are often termed pre-habilitation exercises and can be divided into five main areas. They are specific to the joints and muscles involved in rugby:
- General flexibility exercises of the joint
- Muscle strength and stability exercises around a joint which promote good movement control of the joint
- Core trunk stability exercises for the transmission of energy. Energy is transferred from lower limbs to upper limbs through the trunk. The pelvis and trunk produce muscular torques (forces) to accelerate smaller joint and muscle actions
- Proprioceptive exercises. These exercises help to stabilise joints by ensuring that all the muscles acting across a joint are being used to stabilise and support that joint. Unstable surfaces are ideal for this type of training, which can progress from non-weight bearing to dynamic weight bearing exercises as the joint is strengthened.
- Sport specific technique exercises. This type of exercise recreates patterns of movement and physical stresses that will be encountered during a game of rugby, helping to develop physical co-ordination and mental familiarity with certain actions and conditions.