Most importantly, strong lower abs, which play a vital role in your quick movements during a rugby game.
According to Dr. Barry S. Brown, FACSM, University Professor and researcher at the University of Arkansas, the role of the abdominal musculature in performance is two-fold:
1. Abdominals act as a stabilizing force along with the back extensor muscles for the spinal column and provide an essential base of support for the upper and lower extremity during extreme power movements of either extremity; and
2. Abdominals allow a more forceful forward propulsion of the hamstring muscles during running.
And I believe the Reverse Crunch is one of the best exercises for strengthening the lower abdominals.
The Reverse Crunch in 5 steps:
1. Lie on your back with your legs bent, knees together and the bottom of your feet on the ground. Place your palms face down on the ground for support.
2. Tighten your abs to lift your hips off of the ground as you crunch your knees inward to your chest.
3. Pause at the top of the crunch before bringing your legs and feet back towards the ground.
4. Stop when your feet are at about 5 inches from the ground.
5. Tighten your abs to lift your hips off of the ground as you crunch your knees inward to your chest once again.
Keep doing these until your form begins to wane. Some rugby players, as they grow stronger, add weights to their ankles for a more intense workout. You want to make sure your lower back is strong before you attempt to intensify the reverse crunch drill.
Get to it NOW.
REMEMBER: Before starting any new exercise routines please check with your medical provider and clear your new exercise plan with them before beginning. This is especially true if you haven’t been exercising for some time or are recovering from an injury. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on T.V.
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