The first part of our 5 part series on The Transformation of Rugby player we taught our rugby player to expand her length and rotation ability. We taught her to expand her ability to lengthen on the same side (Ipsilateral) and increase her ability toward diagonal length (Contralateral length). Sprinting has Ipsilateral and Contralateral movement that requires greater flexibility and a keen awareness of the bodies rotation on a vertical axis (spine/pelvis/hips/ shoulders). Trunk and spine rotation occur in sprinting during the reach of the same side of the body and the diagonal rotation of the upper and lower body (The top half turns on the bottom half).
Teaching diagonal rotation between shoulders and pelvis is very difficult. It requires flexibility in the torso, which for most Rugby players (Forward or Back position players) is hard to find due to the sheer thickness and compact nature of Rugby players.
The first step we took to teach diagonal flexibility of the torso involved working to loosen the ribs/pelvis connection. We took a patience to teach breath with movement, and to not force stretch. Our aim is to bring softness in the torso so that she can feel the movement. (Please see Video below – Rotational trunk Stretch) This particular exercise also teaches the importance of length or width between shoulder to shoulder and the reach (wing span from right index finger to left index finger)
In the upcoming parts of this series we will show why diagonal length is important in generating greater speed and turnover.
Trunk Rotation Sample: