Pilates in Rugby
A growing number of top rugby players do Pilates as a way of improving co-ordination, mobility and flexibility, as well as for both recovering from injuries and preventing them in the first place.
Visualise the pre-match anthem line up at an international rugby match and you can see the agile wingers, the smaller muscular prop forwards, the heavy but mobile back row – all differing physiques with different muscle imbalances and differing susceptibility to certain types of injury:
Prop forwards with neck and shoulder problems (imagine the weight of two packs bearing down on your neck!)
Wingers are tackled at high speeds by often larger and weightier opponents
Rugby can be physically gruelling, draining bodies that may already be fatigued. Again, if you visualise the nature of a rugby match, much of the game is played in a semi crouching, forward-leaning position – any wonder that rugby players have back pain. However, recent years have brought a growing willingness to look outside the sport for ideas, in particular, to address the injury toll associated with over-training of certain muscle groups.
Weight training is an essential aspect of training for players, yet a body that has been bulked up in the gym can become rigid and restricted in its range of movement. The popular pec-deck machine, for example, may produce an impressive upper torso yet the movement required is unlike anything found on a sports field – or in everyday life, for that matter.