How often do you see outstanding rugby players with injuries>…
They might get some bumps and bruises sure. That rugby hey bro.
But they probably haven’t had any catastrophic injuries. Severe ligament and muscle tears, broken bones, repeated dislocations….You get the idea, all the stuff that you really don’t want to happen.
You probably want to know why this – them being great because they’re injury free – happens though hey. I mean understanding is the key to putting it into practice and that’ll keep you injury free and therefore a better player right.
Well for a few reasons:
In part 1 we covered that great players work hard at their game. Pretty hard to do if you’re sidelined mate. And we know that to be good at anything you have to practice.
So boom, no practice, no good!
Having an injury could cause weakness. You boys know anyone who’s shoulders come out? I bet the same person has had it come out more than once hey or if they haven’t it’s going to soon.
When I was younger, pre-rugby days, I was a sprinter and used to run against a lad, real good mate of mine, called Iain. Now this boy was rapid, not as fast as me ha, but still fast. So there was a lot of force going through his hips. One day though he stumbled on a sprint and his hip dislocated. Was pretty bad. But since then whenever he’s sprints his hip comes out of place. Obviously he doesn’t run anymore but that one time injury caused a permanent weakness.
This can also happen in your head.
You must know someone who took a knock and got hurt and now is just a bit scared? Or saw someone else get injured and now has lost his bottle for the game?
Someone better is going to come along.
You’ve heard the phrase that “there’s always someone will to work harder than you” or something along those lines. Sooner or later there is going to be someone who wants your jersey. They might be younger, faster, more skill-full. Whatever it is. Usually it’s doesn’t matter because you’re in the jersey already, you have a working partnership and an understanding of the team. As soon as you’re on the sideline they can make that jersey theirs.
So it’s pretty obvious you don’t want to get injured right….
Let’s talk about how to do that or, I guess, how you need to prepare yourself.
I’ve written before about a joint-by-joint approach to getting your mobility and stability in line. The main thing is that you have to have mobility in the joints you need to be able to lose and the joints that need to be stable are stable. And more important, if you don’t have that then you don’t force your body into a position that you have to compensate by stealing movement from an area which should be staying still.
This means that you guys need to have hips that move well, you need a lower back the stays still well and you need and upper back that moves well etc. It takes work, boring work at times for sure, but if you want to have the best chances to stay injury free and keep you jersey you need to do it. (Academy guys check out the mobility section)
Next thing, you remember Iain who’s hip was fucked? Well in rugby that tends to be peoples shoulders.
The shoulder is a pretty shitty joint. It’s essentially really badly designed. Imagining putting a hockey ball on a saucer. That’s about as stable as a shoulder is. Rubbish hey.
That means its up to muscles and ligaments around the shoulder to stop everything going wrong around there. I’m hoping you’re seeing where I’m going with this. You’re going to have to build up some muscle around these joints. And it has to be built evenly. You can’t just bench all day and expect great healthy shoulders.
You’re only building the front of the shoulder there. That’s like only pushing our hockey ball from the front all you’ll do is force it to the edge or over the edge of the saucer (you don’t want that). You need to push and pull in pretty-much equal measure…
And last thing.
You need to be in good shape.
This might seem a bit weird coming from a strength guy but it makes sense. Let’s look at it from a strength point of view, how many times can you lift 150kg? Go do a 400m sprint. Now how many times can you lift 150kg? Less right.
What about if I asked you to do a ton of shoulder work, would your shoulders be fatigued? Yeah of course. And we can see in the above example that fatigued muscles are weaker. So that means they can’t support you shoulders as well.
How can we get around this? By being in better condition. That means you can recover faster which means you’ll spend more time with less fatigued supporting muscles.
Let’s have a quick overview of our injury prevention then:
1. Get your mobility and stability in line. And Practice it!
2. Build up the muscles around joints
3. Get in shape. Make sure those newly built muscles don’t tire
Stay injury-free, keep getting better.