Yoga continues to grow in popularity in Western culture and with soccer players, and you do not have to go far to find a yoga studio offering a range of classes that will benefit you no matter where you are within your training regimen. Many top professionals advocate for yoga, saying it improves the longevity of an athlete’s playing career. Ryan Giggs seems to be the individual speaking the loudest and he probably means the most to the community, as he tallied an astonishing 963 appearances with Manchester United of the Premier League. Riddled with injury early in his career. Giggs often refers to yoga as his “Fountain of Youth” and a huge reason behind his ability to play into his 40s. Beyond that,
I can speak personally to the amazing benefits of yoga, I was an ex professional and due to injuries, I had to retire early at the age of just 21. To try and recover from my injuries and operations, I took up yoga and I have never felt so good, I wish I had implemented yoga into my soccer career at an early age. I have never felt so good and I still continue to this day (27 years old) continue to practise yoga and I would recommend it to every athlete. Giggs refers to yoga as his “Fountain of Youth” and the reason he’s able to play into his 40s. So, this begs the question: Should every soccer player “do” yoga? If yoga really is the answer to solving all physical problems, then why isn’t every single Premier League Club investing all of their money and time into this amazing practice? If it were only that simple… “It tests parts of your body that you just don’t use in football [soccer]. The first time I did it, about five years ago, I was completely knackered. I went home from the training ground and slept for three hours in the afternoon. I actually dreaded yoga for the first year because it made muscles I didn’t know I had ache, although I know some of the lads think it’s really a bit soft.” –Ryan Giggs This quote from Giggs points to the obvious growing pains to practicing yoga that takes time to work past. On top of that, there are also many other priorities when it comes to the physical preparation of a soccer player. Since time and energy are limited, other players may need to focus on other specific areas of preparation, involving resistance exercise, conditioning, speed work, etc. Although yoga has been in existence for thousands of years, it is still fitting that elite-level athletes have begun looking deeper into the reasons that this ancient practice has stood the test of time. You don’t have to look far within professional sports to see yoga’s widespread popularity. To speak in clearer terms directly related to physical preparation, this article talks about six critical components of training, and how yoga integrates into each of them. These six essential areas are strength, speed/power, flexibility/mobility, cardiovascular fitness/energy systems development, recovery, and mental/emotional well-being. Strength If strength is the maximal amount of force that you can apply against a load, then yoga is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind to train strength.
Strength coaches often use external load in the form of barbells and dumbbells, along with additional equipment to assist in a progressive resistance program. However, a missing link that yoga may provide is in the context of core strength, posture, and positioning. Yoga properly instructs the holding of poses and “bracing” of the core. On top of that, most strength coaches agree that proper core bracing will help transfer loads better from prime movers to carry over to major compound lifts such as a squat or a deadlift. Yoga may not be the fastest way to get strong, but it can add value to a strength program.
This is a great 20 minute workout to follow as a morning routine or a recovery workout to aid in recovering the muscles after training or a match.
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