What if your coach or gym buddy told you that there are a set of exercises you can do that will improve your performance and get the most out of your existing training routine. Would you do them? Of course you would.
Imagine sprinting off that line faster, throwing that ball further, or doing more weights than ever before…without the pains and aches…and without the fear of injury.
And what if you knew that these same exercises could not only improve your performance, but could get you back on the training ground sooner, feeler fresher and more rejuvenated – ready to tackle your next workout.
You use tools to workout. You lift weights. Pound the pavement. Sweat through drills. Anything to improve your performance, to achieve your fitness goals, and to get that competitive edge. But are you maximizing your effort on your rest days?
If you are getting enough sleep, eating the right diet, and training to win, then you also need to be doing yoga to get the most out of our training plan.
Not only will you work on mobility, balance, and recovery work. It also provides immediate relief from symptoms of common weaknesses (like joint, muscle, and back pain), AND treats their root causes. Best of all, it’s something you’ll be able to use multiple times per week for months and years.
Here is what you can expect from Yoga Edge:
- Improve strength and control in bodyweight exercises that target auxiliary muscles that your main workouts tend to miss. Get the most out of your squats, your deadlifts, and stop rounding your back! And for those who train with the same repetitive motions (runners and cyclists, we’re talking to you!), it’s time to correct the imbalances in your body from overtraining a select group of muscles and time to strengthen the supporting for injury prevent, and just in case you decide to move to another activity like triathlons or tough mudders.
- Improve flexibility, range of motion, and muscle control by slowing things down and allowing your muscles to stretch with time under tension in order to improve mobility. Why is that important? Because power = mobility x force. Increase your mobility… Increase your power.
- Respond better to unexpected situations on the field or on the trail, improve muscle activation, correct muscular imbalances, and increase coordination. Professional and collegiate athletes cite yoga as one of the reasons they fear injuries less during tackles, uneven terrain, and unexpected mistakes. And the improved balance and core strength can lead to better changes of direction and more agility.
- More flexibility means faster recovery. You’ll also practice restorative stretches that release muscle tension, undo muscle knots, and decrease soreness, so that you can get back to what you love doing most.
- Common soft-tissue injuries such as muscle tears and strains are dramatically reduced with the stretching and mobility work you’ll find in this workout series. Lifting heavy weights and pounding the pavement hurts your joints. Help protect them.
Focus on your breathing.
- Improve your cardiovascular abilities to go longer, harder, and stay in control of your body. Your cardio is dependent on your ability to breathe – shouldn’t you spend more time on it?
How do I know if yoga is right for me?
Here are two simple little flexibility tests that you can perform right now.
EASY CROSS-LEGGED POSE
Try crossing your legs and sitting on the floor. If you can’t sit straight with a neutral spine, this can be a sign of weak core strength, poor lower back strength, or tightened hip muscles – all of which yoga can help to alleviate.
Now a standing test. Lean back against a wall and stand up straight with your back against it. Now walk your feet in front of you just a couple of inches. Slightly bend your knees and place your head and butt against the wall. Put the back of your hands and elbows against wall the wall as well and then raise your arms as high as you can overhead. If you can’t keep your elbows and hands constantly touching the wall, then that probably means your internal rotators are tight, and your scapular stabilizers weak. If this is you, then you need to be careful as it is considered a red flag and could mean you are at risk of shoulder problems. Hats off to bodybuilding.com for providing these tests and Borstad, 2006; Lin et al., 2006.
So why the heck is flexibility all that important anyway?
As athletes, we don’t often rank mobility very high in importance. We’d much rather improve our quickness our agility, increase our strength, or get more powerful. But increased mobility actually enables us to get better at all of those things, both directly and indirectly:
- Increase your range of motion, for more power, deeper squats, a longer stride, sharper cuts, and more fluid movements
- Decrease your risk of injury, by making your muscles longer and more supple, more able to lengthen to unexpected situations, and prevent common soft-tissue injuries such as knee ligament tears and strains, ankle sprains, hamstring pulls, and rotator cuff tears. (Needless to say, this also enables you to keep working out!)
- Speed up your recovery. Grow muscle more quickly, and get stronger in less time. (Who wouldn’t want that?)
- Reduces symptoms and addresses direct causes of chronic soreness and overtraining that lead to injury. (And again, this enables you to keep working out, instead of sitting on the couch wishing you weren’t injured.)
Every Athlete’s Biggest Opponent: Injury
If you’re injured you can’t work out. Period. You can’t train to get stronger, can’t practice, and definitely can’t complete. Yoga is quickly becoming an indispensable tool to athletes of all levels (especially at the professional and collegiate level!) to prevent injury, and it’s easy to see why .
No other form of fitness combines so many aspects of injury-prevention into a single workout. The main injury-prevention benefits we’ll describe here are (1) mobility, (2) balance, and (3) restorative stretches to prevent injury from overtraining.
How is Yoga Edge different?
Most yoga is not appropriate for athletes. Yoga “flows” are typically faster-moving workouts designed to slightly elevate your heart rate and work up a sweat. Athletes already do this with their other workouts, so this isn’t really useful to them. Flows also aren’t appropriate for athletes for a number of other reasons including:
1. Lack of technique awareness – Improvements in technique happen when you take the time to slow down, make adjustments, and improve. When you spend just a few seconds in each pose, this is impossible.
2. Lack of muscular awareness – Most yoga tends to focus almost exclusively on the breath, which is great for stress relief and improving breathing, but has little application to proper muscle engagement.
When yoga lacks these aspects, it means that athletes are missing out on some of the most important aspects of strength they stand to gain from. But we don’t need to throw out the baby with the bathwater, sort to speak – yoga can be extremely beneficial to athletes if it’s taught in a way that’s specifically oriented to athletes.
Yoga Edge help athletes address the full spectrum of their fitness potential by slowing things down and working on aspects of their fitness their traditional workouts neglect, such as balance, mobility, core strength, flexibility, and restorative work. Combined, these elements directly and indirectly contribute to increased strength, improved performance, and decreased injury, to give athletes a competitive “edge” in their sport of choice.
How can I use Yoga Edge?
We knew three things when creating this program. The workouts needed to be short and effective. They needed to be easily incorporated into anybody’s schedule. They needed to be accessible to beginners and to seasoned athletes alike, and they needed to be fun, new, and exciting.
Ok, so maybe that’s four things.
You don’t need to change much to get the benefits of this program. Here are our recommendations on how best to use this program:
- Use as a form of active recovery.
- Use as a warm-up for a low-medium intensity workout.
- Use as a morning or evening workout to complement your main workout of the day. (Yoga Excel in the morning, weights or cardio in the evening).
- Use immediately after other workouts for a comprehensive cool-down.
- Use the day after a game or workout to reduce stiffness, soreness.
- Use on recovery day to speed up your recovery and prevent injury.
Ready to get your competitive edge?