Targeting the warm-up to train smarter, more efficiently and develop youth rugby players.

Ed Benskin
4 min readSep 29, 2021

Targeting the warm-up to train smarter, more efficiently and develop youth rugby players.

One of the greatest challenges facing any coach is time (Jeffreys 2017). It is often seen as a waste of time by many players and coaches. The desire for extra time often means certain aspects of training are forgotten about or neglected; the element which is often overlooked is the warm-up.

However, a well-structured warm-up can provide an ideal opportunity to include various stimuli in training (Jeffreys 2007). The additional training can consist of exercises such as squats, press-ups and sprinting.

A warm-up is not a jog around the pitch, followed by static stretching. This will lead to a decrease in performance (Bishop 2003). The warm-up should be looked upon as extra training. The issue is coaches and players want to spend time playing rugby, not performing fitness training, so how can you train smarter, not harder?

“Neuromuscular Training is an efficient training option to incorporate into your training sessions”.

Neuromuscular Training (NT) is a training method that has been shown to work incredibly well when carried out as a warm-up is Neuromuscular Training (NT). NT is a training method which is designed to support sports training and, when carried out as warm-up, has revealed incredible results such as increase balance scores by 70% and a reduction in injuries by 40% (Faigenbaum et al., 2011; Myer et al., 2011; Steib et al., 2017; Zech et al., 2014).

‘RAMP’ing up your warm-ups.

An NT style warm-up should follow the RAMP principle (Raise, Activate, Mobilise and Potentiate). The raise part should include exercises to increase core and muscle temperature. The activate and mobilise part should aim to move the body through an increased range of motion. The potentiate part is a progressive sequence of activities that maximise performance in the upcoming session (Jeffreys 2017).

Evidence to support the benefits of adding NT to your warm-ups.

A recent study demonstrated how an NT style warm-up could affect performance within

youth rugby union athletes over 8 weeks. The warm-up was 15 minutes in duration, followed the RAMP principle and used only bodyweight exercises (no equipment needed). The bodyweight exercises were…