Bodyweight Training for the Core – Front and Back – All for Rugby Players

Bodyweight training for core muscle groups

To date we have discussed the various elements of training from the upper body, with chins, pull-ups, pushup and there variations. The last but by no means least is the work we have to do to strengthen the core muscles front and back.

Lets start with the lower back given the last lot of leg work dealt with some that area up to the gluten and quads. Lets look at where we start.

Standing Wall Walk –

Firstly do not get these confused with the wall walk to a handstand position used often in cross fit – this exercise is designed to improve your lower back flexibility and strength and is not a shoulder exercise – watch the video below and follow the steps we have provided for you – below the video. Be aware that this is often a difficult exercise care and safety comes into play so have someone on hand to assist you when you start these. “This exercise is ideal for Props and Locks”


As stated wall walks is one the most difficult  body weight exercises that you can do for your entire body. It incorporates almost every muscle in your body and puts tremendous strain on your muscles. This is by far one of my hardest exercises!


In order to properly perform wall walks, stand facing away from a wall about 2 to 3 feet. Your feet will be about shoulder width apart.

Lean backwards and place your hands on the wall. Begin to walk your hands down the wall while arching backwards. Your face will be facing the wall.

Continue to walk all the way down until your head touches the floor. Slowly walked back up until you are starting position. If you cannot get all the way down to the floor, don’t worry about it. Go as far as you can, with the intention that each time you do it you get a little bit further.


Wall walks strengthens the entire body especially your core muscles.

Target Repetitions for Muscle Growth: 4 to 5 times up and down do not go to failure on this exercise


Wall Walks works perfectly for strengthening the body because when you walk your body down the wall in place many of your muscle groups in an elongated position. Anytime you lengthen a muscle but also contract it you tear muscle tissue. This is why wall walks works so great.

Tips: Wall walks is an extreme exercise, so be careful when doing it. If you have low back pain I would recommend strengthening your low back with other exercises before you begin wall walks.


Back Bridge (Wrestlers)

This bridge is often called the neck bridge but more often the wrestlers bridge – again be aware as for the wall walk that you need someone to assist you until you become proficient in these exercises.( Again and ideal exercise for props and locks , although anyone playing Rugby union a contact sport should consider strengthening the neck and upper back.

The exercise

To learn how to complete this exercise start with the beginner back bridge

Beginner Back Bridge

Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your knees bent. Your feet will be flat on the ground. From here, push your heels into the ground, squeeze your butt and lift your hips as high as you can. You’ll also need to think about pushing your chest up and squeezing your shoulder blades together while your head stays on the ground.

If you can’t keep your knees from bowing open, you might find it helpful if not beneficial to squeeze a yoga block or small exercise ball in between them.

Go to the Full Bridge

This starts off in the same position as the beginner back bridge except your hands are placed on either side of your head, palms down and wrists bent back. From here, press yourself off your back and onto the top of your head. You might want to place a towel or other soft object between your head and the ground when starting out.

Wrestlers Bridge

For the added challenge, try taking your hands away and supporting your upper body with just your neck. This variation is sometimes called a “wrestler’s bridge.”

With exercises like the bridge do not try for repetitions, these are duration exercises and your targets are to hold them for a given period of time, do not work to exhaustion . Ensure that you stretch after each session and do not work these if you have had back problems unless cleared by your medical staff.


Building the Abs you deserve.

Bodyweight Training has huge advantages over other training methodologies in many areas. The most shining of them is an area that’s dear to nearly everyone interested in getting into great shape – developing a ripped and powerful core. 

We are not looking for endless repetitions of ab crunches along, we are seeking variations to squeeze the best results we can get.

Start With the V UP

Also called by Bodyweight training enthusiasts the “Atlas sit up.”

Lay on your back with your legs fully extended and curl your upper body up while also bringing up your legs.

Touch finger tips to toes when both your legs are straight and your upper body is of the ground.

This can be somewhat difficult if you are a bit out of shape – if so start with normal floor crunches and sit ups until a bit more core strength is developed. Just be sure to add the V ups as soon as possible they are more than worth the effort. 

situps v up

Knee to Chest situps

Start in the lying down position , bring the knees up to meet the upper body at the same time rolling your upper body of the ground to a 45 degree angle. Hands down the side of the legs to assist balance – repeat several times per session – It often pays to learn to hold the upright position for 10 seconds or so to improve the exercise.

knee to chest

Lower Legs Raise

This time we are starting flat and living only the legs off the ground until the are at 45 degrees – again hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds and lower , then repeat several times .

lower leg raise


The Plank – and its many variations.

We are all aware of the Plank and how it now has many variations – we will cover the basics and allow you to read the internet free the other variations.

Lay in push up position. Come up on elbows and forearms keeping your body straight tightening your abs as if you were about to be punched in the stomach. Hold for time – twenty seconds in a good start, working up to sets of sixty seconds or more. 

The image is of the plank and the muscle groups that it works:

the plank in action

The first variation is the Side Plank

Watch the position of the arm and elbow in relation to the shoulders.sideplankWe are suggesting that you learn to complete these two (both sides of the body for the side plank) and then progress – do not start holding the plank for stupid lengths of time – 30 seconds is sufficient – vary the exercises with other options.

Hanging Leg Raise

Please note that this exercise can be done with the same tree branch or kids playground you used for the chin ups or pull ups of a over the door pull up bar-  Simply follow the video below


The variation using gym equipment