Yoga for Sports Series: Yoga for Soccer Players


yoga for soccer players


In this installment of our yoga for sports series, we're going to discuss the great benefits of practicing yoga if you are a soccer player. Almost every type of athlete can benefit from incorporating yoga into their training regimen.

However, due to the movements of specific sports, yoga just may be a go to option to improve coordination, balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance, leading to better overall performance. 

Soccer happens to be one of those sports where all of the above are important, because of the long game-play, which requires extended periods of movement, high energy, and flexibility.

In fact, one study looked at some of these vary things. The study investigated 6-weeks of yoga exercises effects on balance, flexibility, strength and body fat percentage. At the conclusion of those 6-weeks, basic level strength yoga indeed had a positive benefit on all aspects. 

Another 10-week long yoga study concluded that regular yoga practice may increase flexibility, balance and whole body measures of male college athletes. 

So, let's dive a little bit deeper into the specific benefits that yoga can provide soccer players, and why yoga for soccer players could be the one thing that delivers a spectacular competitive edge.



benefits of yoga for soccer players

 

Specific Benefits of Yoga for Soccer Players

Soccer is a high energy sport that requires loads of flexibility, tons of sudden direction changes, and a massive amount of leg strength. These three elements might as well be the trifecta of benefits that yoga can provide. This makes for a crucial reason why soccer players can very easily benefit from incorporating yoga into their workout routine.

Whether you're using yoga as a warm-up for your more strenuous workout routine, or if you're just trying to increase overall strength, there are postures that work perfectly for all the diverse needs of soccer players. Keeping that in mind, here is a perfect yoga sequence specifically tailored for soccer players who want to experiment with the benefits of yoga.


This Video Shows an Ideal Starter Routine for Soccer Players:

 

Some Additional Yoga Sequences for Soccer Players...


Pigeon Pose (Ardha Kapotasana)


pigeon yoga pose




The pigeon pose is the perfect place to start if you're looking to get ready before a game or your daily workout. This particular yoga posture for soccer players will help to stretch out areas of your hips, upper legs, pelvis, quadriceps, lower back and even your abdomen.

This is a critical stretch, as these are areas that will get the most activity during game-play. Ardha Kapotasana integrates perfectly, even for beginner yogis, down in the seated position, the pigeon pose is a twist and stretch type pose. 


Steps

1. Easily transitioned into from asanas such as the "table-top", as you can simply bring your right leg forward in-between your hands while down on all fours. 

2. As the right leg comes forward, the left leg will move back. The right leg will move over underneath the left hip/upper thigh area. 

3. Your palms should be to each side of your body. Palms should be face down, pressing in the yoga mat. 

4. As you continue, bring the chest forward, shoulders down, head-up facing the wall in front.

5. Sink deeper into the pose. Your hips should begin to deepen in stretch. Inhale and exhale for a few full breaths. 

6. To start the transition of switching legs, simply bring the right leg/foot back into the "table top" position.  


Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)


wide-angle seated forward bend



Moving to the next pose, a beginner friendly, forward-bend type stretch, the wide-angle seated forward bend will also serve to stretch out key areas that are typically targeted during a strenuous soccer workout. Upavistha Konasana focuses on your hips, pelvis, arms, lower back and hamstrings. 

One of the best ways you can improve your soccer abilities is to increase your flexibility, and the only real way to make this happen is by deep stretching, similar to that of what yoga can provide.


Steps

1. Once seated on your backside on the mat, (or transitioned into from Dandasana (staff pose), begin to widen your legs. 

2. As you continue this pose, you may attempt to widen your legs even more, but make sure that you can comfortably hold this stretch. Press into the floor with the lower half of your body. 

3. Inhale, begin to bend at the waist forward, elongating the spine. 

4. Place your forearms in between your legs. Exhale as you begin to walk them out. 

5. Hold this pose for a few breaths. 


Use a folded yoga blanket to help raise your buttocks, if unable to comfortably get into this position on the floor. 

Half Front Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)


half front splits yoga pose


Rounding out the leg stretching yoga sequence for soccer players is a half front splits pose, an intermediate level pose. This pose is great for relieving tension in the hamstrings and relieving tightness that you might experience after a long game or a hard workout.

It is important to hold this pose for a few breathing cycles and with each leg. It is also important to ensure you keep great posture. You can do this by maintaining your spine's length and trying to pull your chest towards your toes.


Steps

1. When performing Ardha Hanumanasana, one of the easiest methods is to begin in a lunge-type position. 

2. Your right leg should be straight out in front of you with a slight bend, with your left leg behind, and your toes on the mat. 

3. Shift your hips back, over your left knee. The majority of your body weight at this time will be on your left knee.  

3. Your right toes should be facing upwards, the sole of your right foot will actually be off the mat. 

4. Flex your torso forward. Your shoulders should be approximately over your right knee area, with your hands or fingertips touching the mat. You can use a yoga block to modify this position for you to rest your hands upon. 

5. Use your fingers to help stabilize your body. You can deepen this stretch by beginning to walk your fingers towards your toes. 

6. Hold this pose for a few breath cycles. Return to a lunge position by bringing the right knee up or simply bending the right knee, placing the sole of the right foot back on the mat. 

Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana II)


warrior II yoga pose


This last pose in this targeted sequence of yoga for soccer players is commonly found in yoga sequences aimed at helping athletes. Warrior yoga pose in general, has several variations of poses, but we'll focus on Warrior II. Commonly, this pose is believed to help with stamina, and closely resembles the common lunge-type position. 

Other benefits of the Warrior II yoga pose is for increasing balance, stretch, and strength. The Warrior II includes several different muscle groups into it's grasp, included the legs, core, arms, shoulders, and chest.  


Steps:

1. From the Mountain pose, spread your legs roughly 4-feet apart, with your right foot turned, facing the right wall, left foot (toes) facing the wall in front.

2. Your arms should be raised, parallel to the ground and palms down, with a slight twist of your upper torso towards the direction of your back foot (right in this case).

3. Stand tall and strong, pressing your feet into the ground, tension in your front quadriceps. The front knee should be directly overtop the front ankle (in this case the left knee/ankle combination). 

4. The right leg or back leg is stretched out at this time helping to stabilize the body and stretch the back hamstring and groin areas.

5. As you sink deeper into this pose, remember to inhale and exhale slowly and with each breath focus on the present moment and pose. 

6. Continue to hold this pose for 1-minute, repeat with opposite side. 


After wrapping up your yoga sequence with the Warrior II, you should be loose and ready to reap all the benefits of yoga for soccer players.


Final Thoughts!

To be quite honest, these poses just scratch the surface of all of the different asanas that can be performed to benefit soccer players in particular. Being flexible and increasing strength with yoga can be beneficial in so many ways, probably one of the biggest is simply preventing potential injuries

We hope you will take some of these starter poses and then continue to add to your daily yoga regimen for soccer players. Until next time, have a great day and be sure to share your yoga stories in the comments section!


Resources:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342098572_Investigation_of_the_Effect_of_6-week_Yoga_Exercises_on_Balance_Flexibility_and_Strength_in_Soccer_Players

- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728955/

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