Rugby is a collision and strength sport so it makes sense to work on building a balanced body, right? Poor stability, lack of balance or muscle imbalances all lead to a path of injuries and time on the side lines rather than on the field. Not only does a balanced body reduce the risk of injury but it’s also essential in force production because it transfers force properly to allow us to sprint at our fastest and tackle at our hardest. Think of a weak body like a crack in the wall. The more tension (hits from tackles, sprinting etc) you place on the crack, the bigger the crack becomes. And Finally, the wall crumbles when it cannot sustain any more tension. The same goes for your body. As force and intensity go up, a balanced body will sustain those forces best.
Here are some tips for developing a balanced body.
1. Perform single leg/arm exercises
The Squat and Bench Press are great for developing strength but are also great at hiding weaknesses.
When we squat, we use both legs at the same time.
Same when we bench, we use both arms at the same time.
Unfortunately, by doing this the stronger side will compensate for the weaker side resulting in the weaker side never able to catch up with the strong side. This is how muscle imbalances occur.
Pre Season is a great time to work on building equal strength on both sides of the body.
Perform exercises like single leg squats, pistol squats, single arm dumbbell bench press or single arm dumbbell presses for 10 reps 3 sets.
2. Learn to Breathe
Sound simple but it’s essential to increasing force and intensity.
A good portion of your force comes from breathing.
When you inhale, it increases the stability of your core.
When you exhale, the stability of your core produces and moves the force.
If you breathe correctly, you boost your strength, speed, power and reps.
3. Find the Weak link
Strengthening your weaknesses will improve your strength. Think of a chain. If a chain link is broken, it weakens the strength of the chain. Your body works in a similar fashion. On many occasions, to enhance your strength, speed and power to generate more force It’s not about moving more weight or running faster. Look at functionality first. For example, stability is a big problem for players. And it’s the limiting factor that prevents them from getting faster and stronger. Strength, speed, and power go higher by simply developing balance and stability. As a result, you can also jump higher and run faster. Following these techniques will lead to more balance in your training along with improvements in your speed, strength & power.