Aug 30, 2018
Mixing Yoga & Football

While football players work hard to get bigger, faster, and stronger in the weightroom, they also need the balance and flexibility to translate these gains onto the field. According to Nikki Chavanelle of, yoga can help athletes improve in those areas while also developing functional strength, power, breathing techniques, visualization skills, and focus.

Since there are a lot of different yoga moves, Chavanelle lists the top five for football players to do. These don’t take very much time and can easily be incorporated into an existing training regimen.

1. Opposite arm, opposite leg

Start by lying on your back and then simultaneously lift one leg straight up and try to touch your toes with the opposite hand. Try for two to four minutes, switching arms and legs each time. This movement helps to warm up the hip socket, shoulder socket, and abs. It can also help with the quick, elusive moves players need on the field

2. Lunge twist

Stand in a lunge position with your left leg bent at around 90 degrees and your right leg straight. Then put your hands together and twist your torso so that your right elbow is resting on the outside of your left knee. Hold this position for the desired time, then switch legs. This pose will increase leg strength while stretching the quadriceps and rotating the back. This can be especially useful for receivers, as it will help their ability to twist and torque in order to catch a pass. The pose is still beneficial for all players, though, as it will help improve balance, which is useful for any position.

3. Plank pose, elbow to knee variation

Get in a plank position with arms straight. Then pull one knee towards your abdomen while pulling your opposite elbow into the same area. Return to the starting position and repeat with other knee and elbow. Performing planks are a great way to increase abdominal and hip flexor strength. By adding the elbow to knee variation, you will further engage the abs and strengthen the wrist joint, which is essential for tackling and bracing yourself when you land. Having great abdominal strength will also help support your back during the strenuous hits and compromising positions that you get put in throughout a game.

4. Downward dog with heel pedaling

Get into a downward dog position with your hands flat on the ground. Then bend each leg one at a time as if you were pedaling a bike. Performing this pose is a great way to open up the anterior deltoids at the front of the shoulder, as well as stretch the biceps, neck, and spine. The pedaling motion helps stretch the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and Achilles.

5. Frog

While down on your knees, push your buttocks down and back towards your heels, and lay your arms on the floor. Your arms should extend straight and your face should be facing the ground. Hold this pose for up to three minutes and it will help release the groin and inner thigh. This will help strengthen areas that are prone to injury, and get them ready to make a sudden stop and change of direction. Opening up the hips will also help take stress and strain off the knees.

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