We all know the drill, turn up for preseason after of summer of the occasional 7’s tournament interspersed with drinking heavily and holidays, ‘this is going to be bleak’.
It doesn’t need to be this way. Get rugby preseason started by fixing a few things, give the shoulders a break, add some mobility and iron out any imbalances. I like to start with some flexibility and mobility circuits alongside some submaximal (not too heavy) single limb work.
However, do make sure you take a 2 week break if you have played 20+ games during the season to let the body repair and give yourself a mental break from the exercise.
I’ve outlined the reps and sets for the mobility circuit below. Complete all the exercises one after another, rest 90 seconds and repeat x 3.
Rolling the feet will release some of the tension in the arch of the foot. Think of the back of the body not as individual muscles, but 1 chain. If there is tightness at any point, it can cause problems anywhere in the system. I like to use a barbell instead of a ball but it comes down to personal preference.
The feet often get forgotten but are hugely important, and imbalances or tightness will rear their ugly head further up the chain, so during this phase of training if possible try and train barefoot, and give the feet some love.
Then we can have a look at the rest of the posterior chain. My favourite exercise for this is the Jefferson curl.
It is important to understand that this is not aimed at keeping the back straight, therefore not a hinge movement. This is a roll down, vertebrae by vertebrae, letting your back round. It will stretch the whole posterior chain, bottom to top.
Now we come to the anterior chain, and what better way to stretch the front of the body that the upward facing dog.
In the same way that the Jefferson curl stretches the posterior chain, this is a nice stretch to hit the anterior chain, make sure you look up to the ceiling to give the neck a good stretch as well.
Upward facing dog
The hips will take a real battering during the season and this is a simple stretch to open up those hips.
Kettlebell Hip ER/IR. Great exercise to open up the hips. Try and lean towards the front leg when you exhale breath, then inhale as you come back up to straight.
Kettlebell hip IR/ER
Then finally up to the shoulders. There will most likely be a few issues in this area, and I could write an exhaustive list, however, there is a nice exercise to get them moving.
The banded shoulder dislocation sounds like a torture exercise, however, this is a nice way to open up the shoulders, and feels great after 3 sets of 20 reps, especially on the front of those shoulders that have taken such a battering for 9 months.