Rugby Tip of the Month – Strong Shoulders

All coaches agree that athletes need strong shoulders to support the individual for tackles, rucks and all the other instances when a player takes on contact. Equally important is that the athlete’s shoulder can stabilize itself in a good, neutral position even without the impact and stress of an opposing player. 

Carrying exercises may look simple, but, with the right focus and position, can be more challenging than they first appear. Oftentimes, I use a variety of carries as “active recovery” between sets as a reminder of how an athlete should position their body and to identify when and how they begin to compensate for weaker areas.


Any carry (90-90, suitcase, plate grip, etc) can be done over a set distance (10, 15 or 20yds) and in multiple directions for increased difficulty. In addition, athletes can offset the weight (i.e. carry in one hand or the other) to create more imbalance to overcome. The 90-90 carries are great for shoulder rehab and general shoulder health. When done correctly, athlete’s will actively feel smaller shoulder stabilizers, especially around the scapula (shoulder blade) contracting to maintain the right position.


90-90 KB Bottom Up Carries

90-90 KB Carries w/ suitcase carry

As mentioned, they can be used within a superset, as part of the warm-up/activation and are great for recovery days when your focus is on good, quality movement.

Was your fall competition cancelled? Not sure how to organize your training with no matches to prepare for? Are you and your team looking for ways to continue improving your strength, fitness and performance? Universal Sports is offering 3 teams the opportunity to schedule a webinar with your teammates. Athletes, and coaches, will learn more about the 4 Pillars of Performance and how to get the most out of your training. Send an email to universalsportsstrength@gmail.com to schedule a presentation with your team.

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