Yoga for athletes should build strength, flexibility, cardiovascular performance. Many athletes totally overlook flexibility. Rather, they focus on strength and cardiovascular. If, however, you are one of the minority of athletes who can work flexibility training into their strength and cardiovascular work, you’ll will no doubt steal the attention of coaches, scouts, and competitors.
Yoga for athletes is your key to being the best by combining flexibility with strength and cardio. This yoga routine for athletes is a three-part routine. First, warm up. Second, focus on lower body and core. Third, focus on upper body and core. Notice, you’ll incorporate core strength and flexibility into most of the workout. Also, you’ll do the same for cardio. Let’s get started!
Yoga For Athletes: Warm-Up Poses
Warming up is very important because it will help minimize any risk of injuring yourself. Before warming up, your body is not ready to build strength and increase flexibility because your muscles and tendons aren’t prepared. Also, your circulation and respiratory system aren’t yet primed to accommodate for exercising.
Following this warm-up routine to prepare your body for for yoga for athletes.
Take 5-10 deep breaths. Remember, in and out through your nose with your mouth shut and eyes open. This will help your warm up your body. Also, it will help improve your cardio and quiet your mind. Use this as an opportunity to visual your workout, upcoming game, or something important in your life.
Standing spine stretch
This exercise stretches your spine and strengthens your arms and core. With your hands above your head and arms locked straight, grip your hands together. By reaching up high, you’re stretching your spine. Your shoulders and triceps are engaged, which strengthens your arms.
Make sure your feet are together, legs straight. Slowly bend to the right, creating a crescent moon shape with your body. Go as deep as you can without sacrificing form. This stretches the left side of your body and spine and compresses the right. Slowly come back to standing. Next, repeat on the left. Repeat going backward. Repeat going forward, but this time touch your hands to the ground to stretch your back. Keep your breathing normal. Repeat the cycle of all four: right, left, back, front.
Standing on your left leg, swing your right leg back and forth 15 times. Next, switch legs. Repeat. Then, do the same but side-to-side. Repeat the cycle: both legs front to back. Both legs side-to-side. This loosens up the swinging leg and builds strength and balance in the standing leg.
While standing, swing your arms across your chest 15 times. Then, swing them up and down 15 times, and repeat. Remember, the point is to get the blood flowing and loosen up your muscles.
First, start with your feet together. Second, with slightly bent knees, step to your right foot to the right. Left foot follows. Repeat. Then, left foot to the left, right follows, repeat. Do this for 30 seconds to a minute. This will help get your cardiovascular system going. Also, it will help build strength in your legs.
Yoga For Athletes: Lower Body and Core
As an athlete, building leg strength will make you a more powerful runner, jumper, and defender of all things. Strength, however, is just one part of the equation. By improving your lower body flexibility, too, your running and jumping will not only be more powerful, but it will become more explosive. Meaning, added flexibility will put an extra spring in your step that will allow you beat your competitors off the line, get to that next loose ball, or make that tackle that was almost out of reach.
Plus, by exercising your legs, which are the biggest muscles in your body, you’ll trigger certain biochemicals that help improve muscle building in other parts of your body. For instance, your core and upper body. Speaking of core, as you work your legs in these poses, you’ll also be working your core. Core strength and flexibility is important for all athletes. It’s used in every movement. Running. Jumping. Stopping. Twisting. Turning. You name it. It’s so important that we focus on the core throughout the entire yoga routine for athletes.
Triangle pose helps build strength and flexibility in your legs. First, standing with your legs spread apart and your right foot open, your right glute and quad muscles engage, building strength in those muscles. Second, you’re also building leg and core strength by trying to balance in this awkward pose.
Meanwhile, your left groin and hip stretch. Also, by keeping your left foot flat on the ground, you’re stretching your left ankle.
When you turn your arms and shoulders and look up to your left hand, it becomes harder to breath. Remember, this is testing your cardiovascular system. Plus, your arms and spine are stretching and flexing, making you stronger for the next time.
Also called chair pose, in this one, you’re building leg strength in your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and hips. Starting with your legs shoulder width apart, as you bend your knees and hips, you pretend like you’re sitting down in a chair. As you slowly move, you engage your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, and hips. The slower you go, the more it’ll burn (which is good). Also, lean back. Try to get your back as upright as possible. This helps build back strength and flexibility. Feels awkward.
This pose builds left strength in your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and hips. It’s similar to awkward pose. But, this time, it’s while standing on one leg. Before lowering down, lift your right foot up to your left hip flexor. The foot should gently rest there as you lower down. You’ll no doubt feel the burn in your standing leg as you slowly lower down. Plus, you’ll engage your core as you try balancing and keeping your spine upright. Also, your breaching should increase, especially the slower you lower.
You build leg strength in your standing leg as you balance. Also, you’ll build strength in your non-standing leg as you kick it up and back. You’ll feel it mostly in your glutes. Some in your standing leg quad. Also, feel your core engage. This happens as you try to keep your balance. Also, by kicking your non-standing leg up and back, you’ll feel your back compress and twist as your chest and abs stretch. To keep all this together, your core will work extra hard to balance. Also, your breathing will become more challenging. Testing your cardio. Keep your breathing normal and controlled. Through your nose, breathe using the back of your throat.
Stretch your hips and back by doing wind-removing pose. Lying flat on your back, as you bring your right knee toward your armpit, your back will flatten. Accordingly, your back stretches. You are lengthening your spine. Keep the back of your head flat on the ground. Also, look for your toes with your eyes. This stretches the neck.
Moreover, your right hip compresses. Despite it being a compression on the front of your hip, it stretches your lower back and hip. It relieves lower back pain and will help your hips swing as you walk. Be sure to do each side individually and both together. Doing both legs together will also stretch your upper back as you hug your legs and flatten your upper back on the ground.
Yoga For Athletes: Upper Body and Core
Athletes need strong shoulders and arms for a variety of reasons. For instance, for throwing, tackling, and swinging, obviously. But also for pushing competitors off the ball or away from the backboard, running and changing directions, and jumping. This yoga routine for athletes focuses on shoulders, triceps, forearms, and back muscles. You’ll also target your core in these poses.
Downward dog build strength in your shoulders, triceps, upper chest, and hands. You’ll also stretch your back, hamstrings, and neck. Although your arms and legs do the bulk of the work, you’ll also engage your core to help balance.
Next, in crow, you’ll feel your hands, forearms, and shoulders working the hardest. Remember, as you use those muscles to hold your body weight, you’ll also engage your core to help balance. Also, to build back strength and flexibility, arch your back and lean your head back. Plus, you’ll find yourself breathing harder in this one. This is great for improving cardiovascular performance.
Like crow, handstands will build strength in your hands, forearms, shoulders, and back. Because your arms are straight in handstand, you’ll also be working your triceps and upper back in handstand. Also, by holding your legs straight, you’ll engage your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Finally, your core and lower back will engage to help balance you. No doubt your heart rate and breathing will increase. This will help improve your cardiovascular performance.
Just like handstand, you’re pretty much getting a full-body workout. However, one difference is you’ll be testing your upper-back strength and shoulder strength more in scorpion handstand than regular. Also, you’ll get a big stretch through the frontside of your body. Plus, to maximize that, open up your chest and shoulders. Also, you’ll get a big compression throughout the backside of your body. If you’re able to bend your head back and get your feet close to your head, you’ll really compress your neck and back. As your heartbeat increases, keep your breathing normal.