Rugby Fitness

Rugby Under 15s Fitness – Part 2 – Destabilising the core

In Part One, we’ve focused on instilling good technique that works your core effectively. In Part Two we’re adding some ideas to engage more muscles in your abdomen and make your code work harder.

A ‘normal’ plank concentrates on the layers to the front and middle of your core, so you can extend that to the sides by doing a side plank. Lie on your side and raise your body on your elbow. Again you need to remember that a straight body is key here, as soon as your hip starts to drop to the floor, then the exercise becomes less effective.

Side plank

By raising your arm in the air, as I’ve done above, you’re also adding some instability, as you’ll need to balance while doing the exercise. What this does is add some extra load on your core to maintain the balance.

The next two exercises, both variations on the plank, also use this instability to their advantage.

The first one is to do a plank on a ball. It sounds really simple and should be easier than a ‘normal’ planks, but rest assured you’ll start to feel this. Get yourself in a press-up position using a ball, a rugby ball is ideal, keeping your feet about should-width apart to give you some stability. Just be careful when you first start off as you will wobble a bit and you don’t want to slip flat on your face. Then hold this position for as long as you’d normally hold a plank.

Plank on a rugby ball adds instability

The other exercise is plank shoulder taps… get yourself into a press-up position with your feet should-width apart. When you’re stable touch your left shoulder with your right hand, then your right should with your left, and repeat. Again just be careful when you first try this, as not only are your adding that instability, but you’re also supporting your bodyweight on one arm, so keep it nice and controlled, and don’t rush the movements.

Shoulder taps also add instability

In Part One we introduced the idea of core intervals – 20 seconds of a plank, then 20 seconds rest, before repeating that for around five minutes. Now that you’ve got the exercises above, you can start to mix up your intervals routine, such as follows:

Normal plank – 20 seconds.
Rest – 20 seconds.
Side plank (Left side) – 20 seconds.
Rest – 20 seconds.
Side plank (Right side) – 20 seconds.
Rest – 20 seconds.
Ball plank– 20 seconds.
Rest – 20 seconds.
Should tap plank– 20 seconds.
Rest – 20 seconds.
Normal plank – 20 seconds.

In Part One we also started to work on good press-up technique. One point for developing your press-ups is to consider an interval approach. If you’re happy with your technique and say, for instance, you’re comfortable with doing ten press-ups really well, rather than trying to increase that day-on-day, try sticking with the ten press-ups and do three sets (of ten) in succession with a minute rest in between. This starts to work on muscular endurance, rather than pure strength, and once you’re comfortable with completing those three sets, then start to think about increasing the number of press-ups in each set.

Finally some context – your core is made up of three main layers, the muscles around the spine and the inner & outer layers of your abdomen. If you do just one set of exercises, such as crunches, then you concentrate any development on a small part of this collection of muscles. Not only does that mean some of your core doesn’t develop well, but it also creates imbalances that can cause you some other physiological issues, such as aches & strains. Hence why we aim to do a variety of exercises to build a good rounded muscle structure.

Note for anyone stumbling across these on the web… These tips are aimed at a specific group of Under 15 rugby players. We know their strengths and weaknesses, and work with them on a weekly basis, so can monitor how this advice works for them. So please don’t ‘borrow’ these tips, unless you’re suitably qualified and you’re in frequent contact with the players you’re advising.

One Commnet on “Rugby Under 15s Fitness – Part 2 – Destabilising the core

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *