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Yoga for sports

When it comes to yoga, its utilisation by pro athletes isn’t exactly a secret that has just escaped the bag. Footballers, basketball players, rugby hard men and boxers have all been known to incorporate the discipline into their training routines, to improve mobility, flexibility, strengthen key muscle groups and to aide recovery.

If, like us, your interest in playing sport is merely about pleasure rather than revenue stream; yoga can still have a major role if you incorporate it into your routine, particularly in the prevention and cure of common sporting injuries.

Expert yoga instructor, Manduka ambassador and former amateur boxer Adam Husler believes yoga can be the thing to cure many of the amateur athlete’s ills, and that simple poses held for as long as possible after exercise can go a long way to curing some of the most common problems associated with those sports. He’s given us several examples of the most common injuries he sees, and the solutions to treating them. Check it. 

 

WHAT?

A collection of yoga poses, which can assist with mobility, flexibility and strength issues commonly seen in athletes.

WHY?

Repetitive patterns of use can inhibit muscle and stop other muscles activating properly; yoga can combat such symptoms of overuse.

HOW?

By focussing on areas associated with common problems.

 

TIGHT SHOULDERS

Ideal for boxers or tennis players who will routinely suffer tightness across the shoulders and chest. Hold these poses after training, working these specific muscles to loosen them up.

Deltoids - Shoulder Twists

Technique Keeping your back as straight as you can, wring out your spine and open across the upper back as you slip the bottom arm under the shoulder and use the other arm to give leverage to twist.

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Pecs and Deltoids - Pec Minor Opener

Technique Begin a new love/hate relationship as you get into a habitually tight part of the chest. Make sure the angle between body and arm stays at 90 degrees and that the back is straight.

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RUNNER'S LEGS

Tight calves and hamstrings can be debilitating for any runner. These two simple poses can target the symptoms of IT band syndrome as well as niggling tightness in the calves, effectively.

Hamstrings and Calves - Flat Forward Folds

Technique Forget about head butting your knee, but instead lie down and use a Manduka strap or towel. Keep your legs straight and your spine long, so you get maximum calf and hamstring joy.

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Glutes, Hamstrings and Calves - Pigeon

Technique A more accessible version with both legs at 90 degrees and a block under one glute. Rotate your belly button over your front legand begin to fold, not collapse.

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SPINE OPENERS

Stretching out your spine is ideal where it's compressed. 'Opening' it out will hit all the main muscles as well as the supporting ones, leaving you feeling looser and more flexible.

Abs, Spine and Pecs - Sphinx

Technique Take your forearms down with the elbows under the shoulders, get grippy with your fingertips and use the action of dragging your chest forward and up, while sliding your shoulder blades down your back.

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Posterior Chain - Twisted Lunge

Technique Kneel down helps with this one. Take the tip of one elbow to the tip of the other knee to get maximum leverage. One day the centre of your chest might reach your thumbs.

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Photos Tom Miles

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