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LTPD Pathway
Functional Screening
Anatomical Adaptation
Game Demands
Conditioning for Rugby
Periodisation in Rugby


General guidelines for practice and pre-match warm-up

Players should be encouraged to complete their own individual warm-up needs prior to the team or squad warm-up. Individual player needs such as stretching and self-myofascial release routines as well as specific skill practice can be accommodated in any given warm-up routine. Here are some general guidelines that will help organise the order and content of a practice and pre-match warm-up:

  • Players may complete their own individualised stretching and self-myofascial release routines (indoor preferably).
  • General warm-up starts with locomotion activities such as moving forwards, backwards and sideways with a gradual increase in exercise intensity. In addition, complete general dynamic upper body and torso exercises such as arm circling and torso rotation exercises.
  • Progress to speed-related mechanics of movement such as lunging, marching, skipping, cruising and acceleration efforts and deceleration activities.
  • Include passing and evasion drills.
  • Include periods for dynamic stretching.
  • Include more intense physical activities such as down-and-up and tackle bag contact drills.
  • Place explosive tasks and drills at the latter stage of the warm-up.
  • Mimic the contact activities of the practice session or the game.
  • Include a period of time for individual player warm-up requirements.

Warm-ups designed to gradually increase the intensity of effort and match those activities which will occur later have been shown to positively influence subsequent strength and power efforts (Thompson et al, 2007, Burkett et al, 2005). Thus, the warm-up should be carefully designed and implemented. The duration of the warm-up can be tailored to the requirements of the team or squad. Ideally, the team should strive to complete a thorough warm-up within a minimum timeframe.