Yoga, a prominent exercise in the United States since the early 20th century, has continued to pick up popularity as a training workout for athletes. One reason it’s enjoyed by so many is its simplicity. All you need is a mat and an open area, so whether you’re out and about or cooped up in doors, you can reap the benefits.
Many athletes and athletic programs have ditched static stretching in favor of yoga or dynamic stretching exercises. I encourage all athletes I work with to do yoga. When done correctly, it promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and helps the everyday athlete recover from tough workouts.
It’s also a great way to break up your workouts. Many athletes tend to do the same (or very similar) workouts every day, and it can get boring, but yoga can help switch it up. So, try breaking up the week with yoga, and you’ll soon notice these differences.
Flexibility: Yoga not only stretches your muscles and loosens them up, but it also works the joints to loosen them up as well. Keeping your joints and muscles warm and loose allows for maximum flexibility. In sports, this maximum flexibility allows for better movement, range of motion, strength, and even power.
Blood Flow: In order for your body to function as best as possible, good blood flow and circulation is needed. The dynamic stretching and breathing techniques used in your yoga sessions facilitate good blood flow to the body parts you are working.
Agility/Balance: Many dynamic stretches in yoga help work on your balance, which in turn can increase your speed and agility. These poses and stretches during your routines will work on balance directly, and in the long run make you much more limber.
I highly recommend every athlete do yoga at least once a week — and if they can, do hot yoga which is yoga done in humid conditions to increase flexibility. The humidity makes you sweat more, but also loosens up your muscles to increase your flexibility in all of the poses, or stretches during the workout. This relaxing exercise can do wonders for your health and wellness and take you to a whole new level as an athlete.
Looking for a more dynamic way to excercise from home? Check out this blog post to find some simple and effective workout ideas.
Bored with the same old dumbbell curls? Sick of running on the treadmill? Then combining strength and cardio training into one unique workout might be for you.
Battle ropes, a workout that tests your cardiovascular and muscular endurance, is a simple way to get a good workout in with just a regular rope wrapped around a pole.
Battle ropes is a great cardio exercise. Unlike traditional cardio, like running or walking, it is something you can do in bursts. So in short 20 to 30 second increments, you can work on your heart rate, cardio burn, and strength. Mixing in battle ropes with strength training makes for a great cardiovascular workout.
Another benefit of battle rope workouts is the number of variations you can do with them. This variety is important because, as an athlete, you never know exactly what physical tests are coming in the heat of battle. By changing things up, these workouts will also help you from a mental and discipline standpoint.
When it comes to form during your battle rope workouts, you want to make sure you have a proper stance and are using the correct muscles. Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart, your toes are pointed straight, you’re seated back in a squatting position like you are sitting in a chair, your chest is up, your eyes are straight ahead, and you are moving the rope as violently and quickly as you can.
Below are some simple variations of battle rope exercises shown in the video:
1. Battle rope waves.
2. Battle rope slams.
3. Battle rope side to side slams.
4. Battle rope outside circles.
5. Battle rope inside circles.
As an athlete there is always something you can get better at. Whether it is getting stronger, faster, or even smarter, it’s all valuable to your game on the field.
However, many forget the importance of one key skill: lateral quickness, otherwise known as side-to-side movement speed or change-of-direction speed.
Whether you’re an infielder for baseball, a linebacker in football, or a defensive player in soccer, you’ve got to have some sort of lateral quickness — so it’s always great to work on lateral quickness, change of direction, and multi-directional sport specific change of direction at least twice a week. Adding these lateral quickness drills makes you a better athlete — it puts you in the game and in a position to win.
Along with making you a better athlete overall, having good lateral quickness also can help you when it comes to injury prevention.
Along with making you a better athlete overall, having good lateral quickness can also help you when it comes to injury prevention. The biggest issue is so many people associate speed with the 40 yard dash — there are very few times you’re actually running that long of a distance. Normally, if you find yourself running that far, you made a bad play and are chasing someone down. To put yourself in positions that you will see on the playing surface — whether it’s the court, the diamond, or the grass — is a way to greatly reduce the chances of injury.
Lateral Quickness Drills:
Mini Hurdle Follow Through
Set up two small hurdles side by side.
Start on the right side of the hurdles and shuffle back and forth through the hurdles quickly.
Set a timer so you can do each set for a certain amount of time.
Mini Hurdle Stop
Set up two small hurdles side by side.
At a slower pace, shuffle through the hurdles.
When you get to each side hold and plant your outside leg and dorsal flex your inside knee up.
The Eastbay Shuffle
Set up a few small hurdles side by side with a cone on either side of the hurdles.
In an athletic stance move sideways over the hurdles, lifting one foot at a time over each hurdle.
Get low and touch the cone on either side of the hurdles before going back to the other side.