Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs) and post-game adaptive shortening can make moving around difficult when you’re finished your weekly rugby game. If you decide to allow this issues to resolve themselves, you may find yourself suffering discomfort or impaired mobility for days.
Stretching sore, stiff muscles may be uncomfortable initially, doing so will speed up recovery, restore range of motion, and help reduce DOMs.
The best rugby recovery stretches are static developmental stretches. Static developmental stretches are held for 30 or more seconds, and the depth of the stretch is increased gradually as your muscles relax.
As rugby is a full body activity, you need to stretch all your major muscles. We suggest that you prepare your muscles for stretching by performing some light cardio, foam rolling, or doing an active recovery workout. All of which are described in our eBook 10 programs for post-rugby recovery.
When you stretch a muscle, you reach the natural end of your muscle’s elasticity – called the point of bind or POB for short. If you stay at the POB for 15 seconds or so, you will feel your muscles relax slightly, and you should then be able to move into a deeper stretch. This happens more readily if you a) relax mentally as well as physically and b) do not hold your breath.
Below, you’ll find the best 13 stretches for post-rugby recovery. Most of them are static developmental stretches. The last is our favorite weighted stretch for the lower back and hamstrings. And also the best exercise for general rugby flexibility.