Athletes usually start playing their sport from an early age and focus on skill training before building a solid foundation of functional movement. This, along with the constant and intense work on the court/field, leads to a lot repetitive movement. Of course, sport-specific skill and repetitive movement is necessary for elite play, but without an effective counterbalance it often leads to movement limitations/imbalances as well as overuse injuries.
Here are a few examples of sport-specific imbalances that can develop:
Baseball/Softball – Lack of Thoracic Rotation
Repetitive movement on one side of the body (such as throwing and hitting) can cause an imbalance with overactive muscles in the trunk. If transverse plane training and t-spine mobility techniques aren’t included in training the athlete will quickly see a lack of mobility build up over time.
Volleyball – Poor Posture
Lack of core strength and tall girls constantly being in the ready position contribute to poor posture.
Basketball – Poor Balance
With rapid change of direction and plyos the athlete is likely to skip over balance training. Multiplanar training and core strength can also help to offset or prevent this.
Corrective exercise is used to improve movement limitations/imbalances and overall movement quality. It can also improve issues with posture, balance, and total body coordination.
Since the potential for a competitive athlete to suffer from injury is high, and because injury can set back an athlete and negate training, it’s crucial to incorporate corrective exercise even before injury is present.
Benefits of corrective exercise include:
- Corrected muscle imbalances
- Increased flexibility and mobility
- Increased joint stability
- Improved coordination
- Reduced risk of injury
- Improved movement and performance
Yoga for Athletes
Many are surprised to learn that yoga is very similar to corrective exercise and can be used to balance stability and mobility throughout the body, regain functional movement patterns, and build a more durable athlete.
Yoga gives athletes direct insight into their movement patterns and allows them to work towards symmetrical movement and overall balance and coordination. Unilateral postures identify muscle imbalances, prevent compensation, and train both sides of the body equally. Balancing postures improve proprioception (the awareness of the body in space), which is imperative for developing the proper motor/muscular control needed for returning to play.
Yoga designed specifically for athletes uses low impact movements that counterbalance what each athlete is doing on the court/field, encouraging the progression of training without undermining it. Classes are short so they can be easily incorporated into practice and pre-game routines to improve an athlete’s readiness and durability for elite play.
By taking advantage of all the on-demand yoga available through YAX Online, you can encourage mobility, injury prehab, and imbalance correction. Sign up for a free trial to start practicing yoga and gaining the benefits of corrective exercise!
YAX Online discounts available for teams!