T Nation

Rugby Props?

Doe’s anyone hear play rugby union in the front row?

I have just started playing loose head this season and have had varied success, but I feel I’m getting better each game.

One thing I’ve been experiencing is that after I cool down post game, the muscles under my left shoulder blade get VERY stiff and sore and take a day or two to recover.

It seems to mostly be around the lower part of my scapular deep and medial to it. Not sure exactly what muscles are sore, could be lower traps or rhomboids?

I think what does it is holding my left arm above my head to bind while keeping my shoulders back. I’m thinking of adding in more face pulls to my program to strengthen that action.

Has anyone else had this?

as a tighthead, i just got bruises where the seams of my jersey were squashed into my traps.
you might be overstretching/compresing something with your left arm without realising it (due to scrumming etc). do you train with a scrum machine? maybe take the next time to ‘feel’ whats going on, as you arent in a match situation.

Normally I play flanker but had to play some considerable time at loosehead this season and have had some issues with my back/neck. Nothing too bad but a pretty decent amout of soreness the next day.

Based on your description it seems like it is more of a rhomboid issue. As for scrummaging technique, I’m still pretty novice but it seems to me that it might help to rotate your arm so that your elbow is pointed more downwards when you are bound on, thus putting your rhomboids in a more biomechanically advantaged position.

For training recommendations, I would stay away from too much back intensive work during the season because the games and practices should already be putting a decent amount of work into those muscles. Maybe the addition of scapular stability exercises (face pulls, band pull aparts, rotations) with the scapulas forcefully retracted would help. Once the offseason rolls around you could really focus on hammering the lats from various angles while making sure the scapula stays protracted.

I think in general there is always a transition period when moving to a new position in the scrum as far as the different forces imposed on the body.

I’d be glad to hear anyone else’s opinions on additional training recommendations for props as I’m starting my offeseason and will be preparing to have to play prop next season.

I got the same thing at loosehead and second row. The arm you’re binding to the hooker with will be pulled in a separate way to your other arm, and you’ll normally have your trap under more pressure and your scapula being pulled further away on the hooker side. Dumbbell power cleans are good to help, as are single arm rows and normal chin-ups and pullups (with a focus on full scap retraction for both).

Take care of your neck and make sure you get damn good scrummaging technique; I’ve been in games where front-rowers have been taken off the field in an ambulance and a neck brace. It’s also the only thing that helps you hold your own when you’re outweighed or just outgunned in the scrum. Odds are at some point you’ll be up against someone bigger, stronger and more experienced and if you haven’t got your technique right it’s going to be a very long 80 minutes.

It’s probably in your bind, I had this problem whenever I played loose, and it mysteriously vanished whenever I was playing any other position. I also did not get as sore after playing a tight head who I could consistantly beat from the engagement.

Two things I noticed helped in decreasing it, first was not letting my opposition tight get too much over on me. If you’re playing a good tighthead and you let them in on you too much, they’ll be able to roll their shoulder down and this will force you to work harder with your binding arm to keep the scrum and yourself from eating dirt. Another thing that helped was not allowing my bind to get too far down on my opposition. One of my coaches was troubleshooting my technique one day and told me to shorten my reach on my bind and when I started doing this it decreased some of that post match left shoulder soreness.

Personally I found subscap, serratus and rhomboids to be the big players, (or at least they would be the most sore when I would have Active Release done a day or two post match) so I started working some more scap stability but I didn’t notice as big of a change in post match soreness as I did from altering my technique in the scrum.

Front row is arguably the most difficult place to play in Union from a technical standpoint, and takes a lot of practice, coaching and experience to get good at, and even more time to get really good at it.

One of the funniest bumper stickers I ever saw read “Rugby players eat their dead” lol…continue.

Don’t have anything to recommend, just wanted to say thank God for good props, as a former hooker myself :slight_smile:

I used to play loosehead (and hooker, and now inside center). It might just be that your muscles aren’t used to the stress being put on them yet. If it continues more than a week or two it might be something to worry about.

Rugby Props?

Humm OK

“Way to go Mr. Rugby, great job!” claps

that is a very strange avatar

Thanks for all the replys.
Caveman101, i get a bit tender under the collar too but that is not a big concern for me, I assume its something you deal with and get used to (like the pressure of the bar on your shoulders while squating).

Flyhalfnightmare (cool name btw)
I have played mostly at 6 and 7 too before this season.
I agree that its most likely a rhomboid issue. I’ll try wat you suggested with the bind (pointing the elbow down). I don’t think I will reduce the weight training I am doing for my back though as I am fully recovered by the weekend I dont see how it would negatively effect my game.
I think conventional deadlifts are the best exercise you can do to improve your scrummaging in any position.

Become a back.

[quote]smokotime wrote:
I got the same thing at loosehead and second row. The arm you’re binding to the hooker with will be pulled in a separate way to your other arm, and you’ll normally have your trap under more pressure and your scapula being pulled further away on the hooker side. Dumbbell power cleans are good to help, as are single arm rows and normal chin-ups and pullups (with a focus on full scap retraction for both).

Take care of your neck and make sure you get damn good scrummaging technique; I’ve been in games where front-rowers have been taken off the field in an ambulance and a neck brace. It’s also the only thing that helps you hold your own when you’re outweighed or just outgunned in the scrum. Odds are at some point you’ll be up against someone bigger, stronger and more experienced and if you haven’t got your technique right it’s going to be a very long 80 minutes.[/quote]
I played second row last year but I didnt get the same soreness. I feel it more on the left side than the hooker side.
I concentrate very hard on my technique, At 90kg I have been outweighed in all of my encounters so far I think ( I’ve only had half a dozen games at loosehead). Most had more experience as well obviously. You’re right, it feels like a long time on the feild when you have a tough tight head trying to work you every scrum.
I am only playing second grade so there seems to be a big difference in the ability in the oposition front row from week to week. Some are green like me and others are tough old guys that just aren’t fit enough for first grade.
I am lucky to have 3 coaches with front row experience and they are very happy with my form so far.

[quote]Theface wrote:
It’s probably in your bind, I had this problem whenever I played loose, and it mysteriously vanished whenever I was playing any other position. I also did not get as sore after playing a tight head who I could consistantly beat from the engagement.

Two things I noticed helped in decreasing it, first was not letting my opposition tight get too much over on me. If you’re playing a good tighthead and you let them in on you too much, they’ll be able to roll their shoulder down and this will force you to work harder with your binding arm to keep the scrum and yourself from eating dirt. Another thing that helped was not allowing my bind to get too far down on my opposition. One of my coaches was troubleshooting my technique one day and told me to shorten my reach on my bind and when I started doing this it decreased some of that post match left shoulder soreness.

Personally I found subscap, serratus and rhomboids to be the big players, (or at least they would be the most sore when I would have Active Release done a day or two post match) so I started working some more scap stability but I didn’t notice as big of a change in post match soreness as I did from altering my technique in the scrum.

Front row is arguably the most difficult place to play in Union from a technical standpoint, and takes a lot of practice, coaching and experience to get good at, and even more time to get really good at it. [/quote]

Thanks heaps, this post was very helpful.
I had noticed the same thing as far as the engagement. Weeks when I felt like I had it over my oponent I was not as sore.
I will try a shorter bind, where should I be trying to bind? at the other guys armpit?
I’ll be having some one on one time with the coach this week so he can probably help me with that now that I recognise Its something I need to work on.

[quote]chimera182 wrote:
I used to play loosehead (and hooker, and now inside center). It might just be that your muscles aren’t used to the stress being put on them yet. If it continues more than a week or two it might be something to worry about.[/quote]

I thought the same thing, and its probably the case as I’ve only played half a dozen games. It has become a little better in fact a week ago I hardly noticed it but saturdays game had a lot of scrums and they were pretty evenly contested and hard fought. Sat afternoon and sunday it was nearly as bad as earlier in the season.
I was just hoping someone else had some advise as to how to rectify/strengthen it quicker.

[quote]Billy Whizz wrote:
Become a back. [/quote]

My strong work ethic would not allow it.

also I’m not pretty enough

[quote]Doyle wrote:

[quote]chimera182 wrote:
I used to play loosehead (and hooker, and now inside center). It might just be that your muscles aren’t used to the stress being put on them yet. If it continues more than a week or two it might be something to worry about.[/quote]

I thought the same thing, and its probably the case as I’ve only played half a dozen games. It has become a little better in fact a week ago I hardly noticed it but saturdays game had a lot of scrums and they were pretty evenly contested and hard fought. Sat afternoon and sunday it was nearly as bad as earlier in the season.
I was just hoping someone else had some advise as to how to rectify/strengthen it quicker.[/quote]

hmm sorry about that then, I can’t help much.

[quote]Doyle wrote:

[quote]Billy Whizz wrote:
Become a back. [/quote]

My strong work ethic would not allow it.

also I’m not pretty enough[/quote]

It’s sad that not everyone has my dashing good looks and rouguish charm.
The ironic thing is that I’m actually more of a forward. I crave the contact and I’m in no way nimble enoug on my feet to play in the backs. Although I guess with a few more years of experience I could be a decent center.

And sidestepping is gay. Real men handoff.

[quote]Billy Whizz wrote:

[quote]Doyle wrote:

[quote]Billy Whizz wrote:
Become a back. [/quote]

My strong work ethic would not allow it.

also I’m not pretty enough[/quote]

It’s sad that not everyone has my dashing good looks and rouguish charm.
The ironic thing is that I’m actually more of a forward. I crave the contact and I’m in no way nimble enoug on my feet to play in the backs. Although I guess with a few more years of experience I could be a decent center.

And sidestepping is gay. Real men handoff.[/quote]

Sidestepping is the best thing ever. It makes your opponents feel stupid.