Whilst some countries are starting to come out of quarantine following the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality is that many of us will not be be able to play rugby for several more weeks or months.
That being said, there are some amazing things that all rugby players could be doing to improve themselves as athletes and rugby players during this time so that when they do step on the pitch, they are the better for it.
Here are the top 8 things that every rugby player should be doing during quarantine / any period of isolation.
1. Focus on Injuries and Imbalances
As a rugby player, it is likely that at some point you have played through injuries or times in your life when you felt some pain or a niggle. Often we are aware that something is not quite right with our bodies, but we don’t pay too much attention to it unless it prevents us from doing what we love to do – playing rugby.
Whether that is an ongoing issue like tight hip flexors or a repeat injury like regularly twisting your ankle, right now is the perfect time to devote yourself to get these issues resolved once and for all and to learn how to prevent them in the future.
(1) FIX YOUR ANTERIOR PELVIC TILT. Most of us that are studying or working sit for the majority of the day, which leads to tight hip flexors, weak glutes and an anterior pelvic tilt.
There are some really amazing resources online that can show you how to fix these issues over time through a combination of exercises, stretches and sleeping techniques. Check out some YouTube videos on this subject here!
This is just one issue that plagues a lot of people, but there are lots more – and Youtube is a great place to start to get educated on how to fix these issues.
(2) LEARN TO TREAT & PREVENT INJURIES. Check out our Sports Injuries blog here, which focusses specifically on the prevention and treatment of rugby injuries. Some popular topics include:
2. Learn New Skills
Although most of us have not had the opportunity throw a rugby ball around with with our teammates over the last few months, that does not mean that we can’t pick up some great skills during quarantine or during this time of restricted contact with other people.
When you look back on this time in quarantine, it will be really satisfying to be able to specifically point to new skills that you have worked to acquire. This can be something like learning to hold a hand stand, pull off that behind the back pass, get your first pull up or any number of fun things!
Check out this fun video from Emily Scarratt. Can you do the #ballspinchallenge?
— Emily Scarratt (@EmilyScarratt) March 26, 2020
Rachel Burford, England 15s, is hosting weekly live sessions over zoom every Monday (starting 22 June 2020) focusing on rugby skills and fitness. All ages, genders and ability are welcome to join in. Cost is £40. Check out her Instagram @rachelburf12 for more information.
3. Get Strong, Try New Exercises & Improve Your Form
A lot of us are missing the gym and struggling without being able to lift heavy weights. However, this is also providing us with an unusual amount of time to experiment with body weight exercises, working out from home and getting back to basics on our form in compound movements.
1. PULL UP BAR. One of the easiest things that you can do is to purchase a pull up bar, which will give you a really great workout and also deliver some awesome progress results.
It is really affordable – you can get one delivered for under £20. We managed to snag an Everlast Door Gym Bar at Sports Direct for under £10. This appears to be sold out now, but there are many other sellers delivering depending on where you live.
We suggest you go for the over the door option, which is easy to put on and off. If you have trouble with pull ups, get some bands to assist you as you get the hang of it. It’s a really great workout you can do throughout the day as you walk around your flat/house!
2. FREE APPS & WORKOUTS. If you are looking for some suggestions for at home work outs, there are literally hundreds of free apps and online workouts that you can try out on a daily basis. Our favourites include:
1. Gymshark App (and FB / Instagram Workouts) – all home wourkouts now free
2. 100% Army Fit App – free workouts and plans
3. Third Space Instagram – Loads of free workouts saved and live on a daily basis- check our their IGTV for lots of different classes for free
4. Gymbox Out of the Box – online platform with an option to donate to NHS charities
5. Beachbody on Demand – get 30 days free
4. Join a New Rugby Community
Hopefully your rugby clubs are finding new and exciting ways to stay connected, but there are also some fun rugby communities popping up online that are worth a look to help you through this difficult time.
(1) SINGLES FACEBOOK GROUP. If you are single and ready to mingle check out – check out Quarantined Rugby Singles ready to Mingl
(2) SOCIAL FACEBOOK GROUP. If you like your booze and missing rugby socials – check out Quarantined Chuggers for Qualified Ruggers
(3) CHALLENGES. There are lots of great challenges going on right for great causes now including the 25 push up challenge for PTSD. Get involved and challenge your friends to take part.
5. Stretch & Improve Flexibility
We know it’s probably not your favourite thing to do, but most of us could really benefit from stretching and gaining more flexibility.
A lot of sports injuries happen as a result of one muscle compensating for another or tightness in different parts of the body.
Take this as an opportunity to create an effective daily stretching routine. This only needs to take 10-15 mins of your time, but if you do this daily or a couple of times per week, you could see some significant results in your workouts and on the pitch. It will also mean that when you step on the pitch, you will be less likely to get injured.
This is especially important as most of us are not able to get the benefit for sports massages or physiotherapists right now. Keeping your body fit and healthy must remain a priority and the below prevention exercises and tools can really help.
1. RUGBY INJURY SPECIFIC ARTICLES. Check out our Sports Injuries blog here, which include some awesome articles that can help you with stretching. At a minimum please check out the following:
2. STRETCHING TOOLS. We have recently been working with a few amazing tools that are game changers in stretching!
1. Foam Roller – this is a must have for every day use – available to order on Amazon for between £10-20.
2. Tennis / Lacrosse / Massage Balls – great for releasing trigger points-available to order on Amazon for less than £10
3. Pso-Rite – one of the best recent discoveries that we have made – awesome for stretching out the Psoas (which releases tight hips), back, legs and shoulders. It’s a game changing recovery tool (review coming soon)!
4. Theragun – very pricey, but if you can afford it, we would highly recommend you pick this up – especially as sports massages are not a possibility for most people right now.
We will be reviewing all of the above tools in an upcoming article and giving away some of these awesome prizes, so keep your eyes peeled for this!
6. Educate Yourself & Get Qualified
Watching a lot of rugby is a great pastime (NZ rugby is back on!), but now is also an awesome time to improve your knowledge of the game.
Use the time that you would have spent at training on a weekly basis to devote yourself to learning about the rules of the game and to watch rugby analysis, so you can become a smarter player.
If you want to take it one step further, why don’t you pick up some qualifications and courses along the way?
1. LEARN THE LAWS. Whilst most players understand the laws of the game, there are details and intricacies that only the best players understand. If you are a back, get to grips with the scrum. If you are a forward, learn about the details of the laws of kicking and receiving. Read up on all of the rugby laws on our blog here. The World Rugby Ready video library is also a great starting point.
2. RFU CONCUSSION COURSE. Do the Online Concussion Awareness Course for Players. It’s free!
3. WORLD RUGBY COURSE. Take the Rugby Ready Online Course. It’s free!
4. RFU COURSES. Check our the RFU website for the latest courses available.
7. Watch Rugby Shows & Take Part in Live Rugby Events
We have really been enjoying watching and listening to rugby podcasts and shows over the past few months. Apart from the weekly House of Rugby with James Haskell, which is always entertaining, there have been a great number of online rugby events that we have greatly enjoyed over this period. These usually take place over Zoom or Facebook and have included some really interesting speakers.
JOIN US FOR LIT 7s VIRTUAL RUGBY 7s EVENT ON 27 JUNE. The 9th annual LIT 7s Rugby Festival (hosted by FRN) was due to take place on 27 June at Wasps Rugby Club. Like all other rugby 7s tournaments this summer, unfortunately the event will not be able to take place due to social distancing measures.
We are thrilled, however, to be able to host a virtual rugby 7s event where we will be covering the topic of rugby 7s with the leading experts and players in the game!
Our panel of experts will include Tom Mitchell (England 7s), Natasha Hunt (England 7s & 15s), Charlotte Mudoola (Uganda 7s), S&C Coach Dean Hammond, Elite Level Rugby Coach Danny Webb & many others! Event details will be released soon!
8. Improve Mental Health & Stay Motivated
This difficult period of quarantine and isolation can really have an affect on our mental health. Playing rugby and seeing friends and teammates is a big part your life, so it is only natural that when this is taken away, this can affect your mental health and your motivation.
1. SET GOALS. This period is very difficult for everyone because it is unclear when things will go back to normal. This means that it is hard to stay motivated and see the point in staying rugby fit or motivated to stay on track.
Setting goals is a really great way of keeping yourself motivated and accountable. Start small with hitting a certain 5k PB or reaching 10 pull ups or study for a rugby qualification. Do something that will keep you focused and excited.
2. LEARN FROM PROFESSIONALS. There are some awesome professionals offering free advice that can help us get through this difficult time. Check out Coach Dean Hammond’s Instagram page and learn his H.E.A.L. method. Dean will be joining us next Saturday for the LIT 7s Virtual Rugby 7s Event on 27 June. Make sure you tune in to our Facebook page to see him live!
Do you have other recommendations for what rugby players should be doing in quarantine? Please add them below!