Soccer players do various exercises to prepare themselves for the many minutes on the pitch. One of these exercises is yoga to maintain optimal performance throughout the season. If you are unaware of how yoga benefits soccer players, then let us tell you the merits of doing yoga.
Doing yoga has plenty of benefits for soccer players. For starters, it gives you relief from stress and enhances concentration. Soccer players can do yoga before or after playing a game. However, it is recommended that players should do yoga after their soccer game. After sprinting for a long time and getting exhausted, players can do yoga to reap multiple benefits.
Soccer players need to be 100% fit all the time. Moreover, they cannot ignore weak bones or stiff muscles if they want to play at their best. Doing certain types of yoga improves your flexibility. As a result, you will not get cramps or any weak symptoms of bones. On top of that, being flexible will make you efficient and agile.
Yoga may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about strength training. However, it is an effective way of improving strength by simply using your own body weight. Moreover, yoga enables players to maintain posture and improve their positioning. Above all, yoga will improve your overall strength, which is useful when playing soccer.
Aids in Recovery
Having shorter gaps between games can lead to fatigue, and as a result, there will be more chances of getting injured. Yoga can help you reduce those chances by relaxing your joints, muscles, and tendons. As a result, it shortens the recovery period of your tired muscles. Moreover, you can do yoga after your games to keep your recovery speed at optimum.
Improves Cardiovascular Endurance
We all know how tiring a soccer game can be. It involves 90 minutes of gameplay at a professional level, which is the ultimate test of your cardiovascular ability. After that, you can barely do any intensive aerobic exercise. Yoga is the perfect movement because while it stretches your muscles and enhances recovery, it also boosts your cardiovascular endurance without the risk of overexertion.
Yoga Poses for Soccer Players
Here is some yoga poses for soccer players to build strength and improve flexibility.
1. Downward Facing Dog / Downward Dog
Downward dog targets the hamstring and calves area by stretching it extensively. Moreover, your shoulders are also somewhat affected by this pose.
To do this yoga pose, go down to your hands and knees. After that, place your palms on the ground and tuck your toes. Now raise yourself while still facing down. You will achieve a downward-facing dog when your tailbone is facing upwards. In addition, keep in mind that you must keep your body stiff and straight all the time.
2. Warrior I
Warrior I targets the groin, stomach area, and legs. To do this pose, stand upright with enough space on all sides of your body. Slowly slide your left foot to the back. Then, gently turn your left toes outward. Now bring up your arms while inhaling and bend your right leg so that your torso sinks down a little. After that, enclose your palms together and try to put pressure on your shoulder. You can also do warrior I without keeping your palms together. Slowly inhale and exhale at least five times before releasing the pose.
3. Half Front Splits Pose
Half front splits pose tackles the injuries of the hamstrings by easing their tightness. The hamstring is a common injury faced by soccer players, as running a lot can pull your hamstrings.
To do this pose, start in a low lunge with your left knee on the ground, your toes pointing back, and your right leg extended forward. You should feel the stretch, but it should not be painful. Arch your foot so that your toes point to your face as you lower your spine and place your hands on the floor below your shoulders. You can use blocks if you feel uncomfortable. Keep your spine extended.
Finally, keep a little bend in your knee to avoid strain. However, keep your toes pointing towards your face to get that stretch. Hold for at least a minute and take slow breaths before switching to the other side.
4. Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend
This yoga pose will give you immense flexibility to your groin and strengthen your spine. You can do the wide angle seated forward bend by spreading your legs apart while sitting on the floor. Spread them as much as you can. You can put a cushion between your navel and pubic bone if you find that your lower back is curving uncomfortably.
After that, place your hands on the ground. Keep in mind that your entire forearm should be touching the floor. Lift your sternum and try to sit up straight. This will improve the strength of your groin. If you are uncomfortable doing that, hinge from your hips while slowly placing your hands forward. Keep bending yourself forward from your waist and keep your spine straight. Try to stay in this position for one to three minutes.
Yoga’s greatest benefit is its flexibility. It can offer you a full body workout or a gentle recovery stretch, depending on your practice. Furthermore, you can use specific yoga poses to tackle certain body parts. This is especially important as a soccer player because you can use certain poses to relieve any body pain you might have.
Apart from the physical benefits, yoga also improves your mental health. It improves clarity and mental focus. Moreover, it also alleviates stress and fatigue. A simple breathing exercise with proper yoga position goes a long way in providing benefits to a soccer player. Start scheduling yoga sessions after your games and watch your stamina improve.