As rugby is movement-based, the more a stretch can be combined with a movement the better for performance. Dynamic stretching for rugby involves completing functional-based movements that relate to rugby and move through the full range of motion. Essentially, dynamic stretching is actively moving a joint through the range of motion required for a sport (Beachle and Earle, 2008).
As dynamic stretches by their nature are sport-specific they are the preferred method of stretching to use in a warm-up. As they are active and movement-based they will maintain a high body temperature and will prepare the joints for the range of motions that will be required to move and perform optimally in the game of rugby. The player should start each dynamic stretch with a limited range of motion and gradually increase the range of motion as the stretch progresses (Joyce and Lewindon, 2014). When designing a dynamic stretching session for rugby the coach must look at what will be the main movement patterns in the main session and choose stretches that will prepare their players for this. Some dynamic stretches that are applicable to rugby are shown in the videos below.
Lunge walk – players should step forward and flex the knee and hip to drop into a lunge position. Return to standing by pushing through the front foot and immediately step forward off the other leg and drop into a lunge position. Continue this for a set distance.
Lunge clock – players should step forward and flex the knee and hip to drop into a lunge position. Return to standing position, step to the side and flex at the knee and hip to perform a side lunge. Return to standing position, step back and flex at the knee and hip to perform a reverse lunge. Return to standing position. Repeat the same movements on the other leg.
Arm circles – players should raise the arms out to the side to about shoulder height, make small circles with the arms and gradually increase the size of the circles.
Squat walk - players should face side on, step on foot out and squat down. Return to a standing position and then spin and step the opposite foot out and flex about the hip and knee to squat down, repeat for a set distance dropping deeper into the squat each time.
Inchworm – The player is balanced on their toes and hands like a press-up position, they then start to inch their feet in-towards their hands, when they can no longer inch their feet forward anymore they inch their hands out to return to a press-up position, this is repeated until they cover a set distance.