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FITNESS 4

COACHING

 
 
 
 
Rugby Fitness & Conditioning
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Core Stability > Core Muscles


All the abdominals are responsible for bracing the trunk but the key stabilising muscles for the lower body are the transversus abdominus (deep abdominal muscle), multifidus (small back muscles) and gluteals (buttocks).

Activating your Transversus Abdominis (trans abs)
Imagine you need to stop yourself from 'peeing' and 'scoop' the lower part of your stomach, below the navel, 'up and in' to activate the 'trans abs.' This does not need to be a maximal effort - to isolate this muscle it is better to apply a 2-3 out of 10 effort.

Make a point of activating the trans abs during exercise and while sitting to help teach them to recruit automatically. It is beneficial to practice scooping at different intensities depending on the demands of the movement. During heavy lifting, such as a Power Clean, increase your activation effort to 6-7 out of 10. After a while, the trans abs will activiate automatically - this is your goal.

Activating your Multifidus
These are small muscles that stabilise the vertebrae of your back and are often recruited as a result of successful trans ab 'activation'. To identify these muscles, stand in neutral, and place the fingers of your left hand slightly left of the middle of your lower back - now wave your right arm up and down - you should feel the multifidus muscles activate.

Gluteals
Your main power generators, the 'glutes' provide control and contribute to a stable base. They support the lower back and hamstrings and should be regarded as your 'engine' for hip extension.

A recipe for hamstring injuries and diminished speed and power
Many players are poor at activating their gluteals during rugby league and often have to rely on their hamstrings to do the work of the glutes. A variety of core stability drills can be used to activate the gluteals and the other muscles that contribute to core stability.

Upper Body Muscles
Your upper body stability incorporates your shoulder girdle and acts as an anchor for your arm movements through rotator cuff muscles. Similar to the lower body muscles, the cuff can be trained to provide a solid base for arm movement.

 
 
 


 

 

 
 
ABOVE - illustration of major abdominal muscles that help stabilise and brace to provide core stability
BELOW - The trans abs are key stabilisers and need to be taught to 'activate' via core stability drills
 
 
TOP TIP
Low back pain causes inhibition of the transversus abdominis muscle. Learning to contract this muscle with basic core stability drills is important in recovery from back pain.
FITFILES
Visit the Rugby League Fitfiles for dozens of proven drills for core stability training
BELOW - illustration of gluteals - these muscles stabilise the hips and are major generators of power for jumping to head a ball and sprinting