It is incredible what yoga does for athletes in general, but it has many more benefits for football players. I am about to reveal three simple poses to make you stronger, faster and more flexible. Players are always looking for a competitive edge to get ahead of their opponents. Yoga can give them the edge they seek. Yoga is also the key to preventing sports injuries creating more endurance in the muscles. Yoga can help players increase their reaction time, their speed and ability to leap higher to make those hard-to-get mid-air catches. In the prior era, many football players would do training that included ballet with their strength training. These days, Yoga can provide increased benefits and also aid to prevent injuries that are becoming increasingly common amongst players today, including tears of the Anterior, Posterior and Medial Collateral Ligaments in the knee.
Conditioning before daily practice can consist of 3 simple asanas to increase the endurance of the muscles and prevent game injuries. Yoga asanas aka routines are done in a very slow methodical way, incorporating the breath with full concentration as the pose is being done, this method increases blood flow to the brain and blood flow and oxygenation to that muscle group that has been targeted. Doing a dedicated yoga routine pre-exercise or post exercise creates the incredible lengthening of the muscles that can prevent and reduce injuries for football players.
Several prominent medical studies link increased sports performance recovery time to yoga. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institute of Health has linked and found that a daily yoga practice can decrease low back pain and increase flexibility as well as improve range of motion in the joints. There have also been medical studies linking the daily practice of yoga with improved concentration, focus, and endurance which are key factors for a football player to be on top of his game.
The first simple yoga pose is called the downward dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana, some the benefits are:
- Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
- Energizes the body
- Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
- Strengthens the arms and legs
- Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
- Relieves, flat feet, sciatica
The Second yoga pose is Head-to-Knee Forward Bend, Janu Sirsasana some of the benefits are:
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and groins
- Improves the range of motion of the hamstring and back of the leg muscles
- Strengthens the back muscles
The Third yoga pose is the forward bend, Uttanasana, some of the benefits for this pose are:
- Calms the brain
- Relieves fatigue
- Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips
- Relieves pre-game anxiety
The other benefits of doing yoga include but are not limited to better breathing which can help improve endurance and stamina. In sports or exercise, we often hold the breath as a way to create strength. Yoga breath trains the body to create strength through breathing sequence to create control. Holding the breath at points of exertion takes a great deal of energy that could be used instead during those long-running stints and running to capture a ball in the air. The focus and the concentration that one gains from doing these poses in a methodical fashion increases the ability to stay focused during the game without becoming anxious. Similar breathing techniques are used by runners or other athletes in high altitude environments for endurance training.
Using yoga techniques, which include both breathing and physical techniques, makes it possible to retrain the brain as well as the muscles.
Yoga used as a tool for football players can essentially create a better, stronger and more focused player, making the above poses 3 simple poses to make you stronger, faster and more flexible in the game of football.