Sometimes you have to crawl to become a better rugby player. Yup you read that correctly, you need to get crawling if you want to make yourself into a better rugger. No I don’t meant that you should go out and do 100 squats til your body legs feel like Jell-O and you have to crawl to the car. But I mean proper technique and varied crawls are a great way to get athletes moving and increasing their core stability. The best part is you can build them right into your on the field training sessions.
In rugby we spend a lot of time talking about body position and profile. This is because we spend much of our time during games bent over, crawling, and using our bodies to lift, push and drive other humans out of our way. The fundamentals of these positions are based in core and stability, and lower body strength, which should be at the base of any rugby strength training program. While we all know that if we get athletes squatting, and deadlifting it will help develop these areas. However, crawling provides us with a great opportunity to build these areas while sticking close to our basic rugby fundamentals.
By using Concentric Brain I’m able to find dozens of variations of crawls to keep athletes motivated and moving.
Here are a few of my favorites.
Take a look at this body position. Flat back, strong base, neck and back in alignment. It’s just a short tweak to move from Bear Crawl to rucking position. One of my favorite parts about Bear Crawl is there are so many variations. Forwards/backwards crawl, lateral crawl. You name it you can do it. If you have a less advanced group then you can have your players hold that position for time, and work on building those same muscle groups.
These are crawls from a push-up position. Again we are focusing on keeping a strong core and a flat back. I especially like the lateral variation of these.
This one is a little more advanced but it is my personal favorite. Low body position, strong base, everything you want to see from a player on the pitch. I love the Tiger Crawl with Push-up Each step variation. If you want to test your players, and make them work for it, give that a shot and see what they say after about 10 meters.
I could go on for pages about all the crawl variations, and how they are beneficial as part of a rugby training program. If you're looking for a way to challenge your players physically, while still maintaining rugby's core values, then get them crawling, and you will see the benefits immediately.