Many fitness experts talk about core strength and stability as a crucial component for all-round fitness for anyone. For rugby players, whether they favor league or union, possessing good core strength is absolutely vital.

What is core strength Vs. core stability?


Core strength is the ability of the torso to generate force, in other words, can it produce a certain movement at the torso. In rugby, this typically happens when you wrestle for a ball, fight in contact, lift & catch the ball in the line out or passing a ball. Core stability is the ability to restrict unwanted movement at the torso, whilst high levels of force are being produced elsewhere.  Core stability is most evident when we want to transfer force from the lower body to the upper extremities. There is a famous quote saying “You can’t shoot a cannon out of a canoe.” The meaning of this in a strength training context is that stability must precede force production. In other words, if you cannot properly stabilize your core musculature, the arms and legs will not have a stable base from which to produce or transfer power.  In rugby, the transfer of force through the core into the rest of the body happens in almost every movement. This is most evident in running economy. There is some research showing that improved core endurance has had a positive effect on running economy of recreational athletes and fewer energy leaks. This means by improving core stability and endurance, you indirectly improve your fitness.

Additionally,  being able to transfer force through the torso will have a benefit in cutting, sidestepping, tackling, rucking, lifting, scrumming and performing any skill at high speed. Among other muscles, the core strength group includes the deep transverse abdominal, the pelvic floor muscles, and the gluteus maximus (buttocks), which are all important for improving performance on the rugby field.  Core strength is particularly important when it comes to contact. In all rugby positions, the tackle area is where much of the real ‘action’ of the sport takes place. Rugby players need to be able to continue to generate forward momentum after the tackle is made, staying on their feet for as long as possible to make yards, before the referee calls ‘held’ or they are taken to the floor. Union players need to be able to drive through contact, and either find the floor quickly and efficiently for their team to retain possession at the ruck, or to be able to set up a driving maul by staying on their feet. Therefore, core strength is crucial in all of these situations. 

The bottom line is that any rugby player can benefit from core strength. A strong core helps one to maintain stability, provides control of the body, and allows for power to be generated efficiently. Core stability assists in explosive movements, which are necessary in all aspects of rugby.



For improving core stability, exercises should be progressed from simple,  isolated & light to heavier, with integration of  upper and/or lower body movement, utilizing multiple planes of movement and making the force demands unpredictable and complex.

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