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Rugby fitness training - Flexibility

Flexibility training focuses on the resting muscle lengthens to restore ideal posture and the active movement ranges to enhance performance. There are two types of stretching to cover this:

Active flexibility.

This refers to the amount of movement you can actively produce around a joint. For optimal force production the body needs to be able to stretch to certain lengths so the muscles are in an ideal position to produce the most force.

A players active flexibility depends upon static flexibility and how warmed up the player is, e.g. you would have better active flexibility in the evening than the morning, or after a active stretching routine than before.

Static flexibility.

This can be defined as the range of movement around a joint. It is the length the muscle can reach when slowly stretched. This determines your active flexibility and is essential for optimal performance and injury prevention. Injuries occur when there is an imbalance between opposing muscles groups or muscles from side to side of the body.

Optimal strength is produced when the body is in perfect alignment. Through static stretching yourself into this position all the time and without thinking about it you will greatly enhance strength and performance levels.

How to stretch

An active stretching routine uses a series of movements that serve to warm up and lengthen the muscles and connective tissues. A short routine should be used before every training session and upon rising. An example exercise would be arm circles, torso twists etc,

static stretching should be focused upon the tight muscles and there are three main techniques which can be used when stretching. These include tricking your nervous system o relax the tight muscle to give you dramatic increases in flexibility.

What to stretch?

For static stretching It is important to test for which muscles are tight before starting a stretching routine as it guides you to which stretches you should concentrate upon. Active stretching should be used for the whole body with emphasis on movements required in the following activity.

Optimizing flexibility

The success of flexibility depends upon your breathing technique, the state of your nervous system which relies on nutrition and it's place amongst the overall training year.

Combining the techniques

Flexibility is just one of the different training areas any serious rugby player should focus upon.

The mains areas to focus upon are agility, sprint training, plyometrics, resistance training, aerobic fitness, core and flexibility. The combination of these based upon your specific needs will produce dramatic results.

To optimize the benefits from training any conditioning routine must be backed up by nutrition. The most effective sports nutrition system in the world is metabolic typing. It is used by many professional teams. It is based on discovering your unique nutritional needs.

The final aspect of performance is ensuring the mind is tuned for success. This can be done by using Emotional freedom technique (EFT). A powerful psychological method.


Ben Wilson

Author Rugby

Fitness training.


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