A guest article by our expert Matthias Asböck.
(As a physiotherapist, sports scientist (B. Sc.), osteopathy student and InsideFlowYoga teacher, Matthias Asböck from All About Movements has the complete repertoire in the training and therapy area. His motto is: it’s all about the movements.)
Hips don't lie: a Yoga - Flow especially for footballers
What could be better than a fair and intense duel? Actually almost nothing more - as long as you win it.
However, we have to keep in mind that the resulting fall or collision with the opponent can lead to a joint (hip joint, pelvic joint, sacroiliac joint, knee joint, spine, shoulder and many more) no longer being at its geometric centre.
In other words: it is no longer centered or even blocked.
As a result, muscles or fascial tissue originating from one of the joint partners involved increase their tension and are therefore more susceptible to muscular injuries such as pulled muscles or even torn fibres.
In order to fight future injuries, we present a yoga flow especially for footballers in this blog post.
Muscular imbalances as a cause for many injuries
Another reason that makes us more susceptible to muscular injuries is the development of muscular imbalances.
Soccer is an enormously fast-paced and explosive sport consisting of many short sprints.
As defensive players we have our body centre of gravity rather low in order to be able to react quickly to the movements of the to be able to react to an attacker.
Also the goalkeeper has always a slightly bent knee just before the action to be as dynamic and powerful as possible.
All other positions also require movement patterns, which fort he most part require dominance of the front of the body. This means that for example hip flexors, knee extensors (M. Quadriceps femoris, M. Iliopsoas) tend to have too much tension, while the back of the legs (Mm. Glutei, hamstrings) are often too "weak".
Muscular imbalances also lead in the long run to decentration of the joints and thus to susceptibility to injury.
The pelvis: central role in the footballer's body
It is therefore always worthwhile to ensure balance, especially when you consider that the pelvis plays a very central role in the body.
The #10 of the "musculoskeletal system"
All myofascial chains that connect the body parts are directly or indirectly related to the pelvis or it is even its centre.
The pelvis must be strong and resilient and must support the whole body in maintaining an upright posture.
Nevertheless, it should also have sufficient elasticity to allow the pelvic bones, but also other parts of the body, to adapt to asymmetrical tensions such as those that constantly occur during a game.
The body must therefore combine such opposing characteristics as stability and flexibility or mobility.
With the following flow "Yoga for footballers" we want to give you a nice tool for this.
A Yoga - Flow for footballers specifically for the hips and pelvis
From a scientifical point of view, it makes sense to warm up before the mobility training.
This is the best way for your connective tissue (muscles, fascia, capsule-ligament apparatus) to accept the stretching stimuli.
Many warm-up exercises as well as a complete warm-up program can also be found in our B42 app.
Hold the individual Asanas (positions) of the flow longer (approx. 5 deep breaths or 30 - 60 seconds) on days without training or a match to counterpoise muscular imbalances.
If you want to use the flow as an activation before training or playing, hold the positions rather shorter (one deep breath each) and perform the flow more often.
In this way you free your hip and pelvic joints and can release any blockages.
Your Yoga - Flow for hips and pelvis
Stand upright at first. The inner edges of the heel and the joints of the big toe touch each other. But try to move your inner ankles slightly away from each other - this should help build up the arch of your foot.
Now activate your glutes and abdomen and push your sternum (breastbone) upwards and forward.
Roll your shoulders back down in a relaxed fashion and let your palms face forward.
Your eyes should look slightly forward and upwards.
Half Forward Bend
Stretch your knees and bend your hips. This will bring your straight upper body forward.
Support them with your hands on your thighs or lower legs - depending on how low you can go without losing your extended knees and straight back.
Feel the stretch in the back of the leg. Try to position the hips directly above the ankle joints.
Do not overstretch your neck - it should be long and positioned as extension of the spine.
Shift your weight to your left leg - it may be slightly bent. The fingertips go to the ground in front of you and give you some stability.
Stretch your free leg as far back as possible and lenghten your back .
Now shift your weight more to the right side of the heel - you will feel an intensive stretch in the back of your leg.
Bended Low Lunge
Via the Runner's Lunge (= Low Lunge with the foot between the put-on hands) you get to the Bended Low Lunge.
To do this, push your right hip straight forward until you feel a pleasant stretch in the hip flexor area.
Place your left hand on your thigh and push the other arm over your head and sideways over the middle of your body, creating a controlled lateral inclination.
Feel the stretch all over the right front part of your body.
Revolved Half Split
Via the Half Split, which we already explained in detail in the last blog post, you get to the Revolved Half Split.
In this variation, you shift your weight back a little bit until your hip is positioned above your knee. Now take both hands to your left side and place them next to your leg.
This diagonal component will intensify your stretch.
Depending on where you have your greatest limitations, you may feel the stretch more in the calf or also in the back thigh muscles.
Crescent Low Lunge
Loosen the position and shift your weight slightly forward again.
Position your left foot slightly to the outside left and your right hand slightly to the outside right.
Your left hand makes contact with the inside of the knee and pushes the knee slightly outwards. Stay with your foot completely on the ground
Move your hips forward and turn your upper body to the left.
Your eyes should look at the ceiling.
Optional: Revolved Low Lunge
If you want to make this yoga flow for soccer players more intensive, you now take your right foot OUTSIDE with your left hand and guide the heel to your buttocks.
Activate the abdomen to avoid getting hollow back (hyperlordosis).
This position might be difficult at the beginning - you might also get a cramp in your left back thigh.
A trick: bring the foot as fast as possible in the direction of your hand and then let go immediately.
Over the High Lunge (knee in the air) you come now into the Side Stretch to stretch the inside of your leg.
Turn 90 degrees to the right from here until you are in a straddled position.
Now shift your weight slightly to the left so that your left knee bends. The other knee remains straight.
Position your hands slightly forward and push your pelvis backwards and upwards.
Make your back as straight and long as possible again - so tension it properly.
Step forward with your right foot in a controlled manner and place it shoulder-width apart at the level of your left foot.
Stay on the ground with both heels while slowly moving your pelvis down. Get into the lowest possible position and push your sternum forward and up.
Position your elbow on the inside of each knee so that you can push your knees outwards - this is a very nice hip opener.
Tip: The first few times this position could be very difficult. But if you do it regularly, you will quickly make significant progress.
Repeat on the other side
Now perform the Yoga Flow on the other side until you get back into the Yoga Squat.
Out of the yogi-squat you come with a jump back into the plank pose.
Your hands are now directly under your shoulders. Your fingers are spread and your elbows point forward (like when donating blood).
Activate your front thighs, buttocks and stomach.
From the push-up position you bring your buttocks towards the ceiling - to the down dog.
Now come forward again into the Plank Pose and let a wave run through your spine during this transition. So first try to make the lower back round, then the thoracic spine and then the cervical spine.
When you are in the push-up position again, you will make yourself completely stable again.
From this position, bring your knees as far out as possible.
Probably the knees are no longer on the mat. If you feel uncomfortable or too hard, put pillows under your knees.
Now put your forearms flat on the mat (relatively far forward) and shift your weight backwards and downwards (pelvis towards your heels).
You will feel an intensive stretch in the adductors.
Der Yoga – Flow as video
The complete yoga flow is also available as video. If you do it regularly, you can even out muscular imbalances and keep many joints in the pelvic area and the spine pain free and moving fluidly.
Yoga exercises for footballers also in the B42 app
We at B42 have also been aware since many years of the great benefits that yoga offers to all footballers.
Several of our exercises from the MobilityLab - a special training program for your mobility in our app (download link to our Android or IOS version) - are based on different yoga poses. This allows you to fight your injuries in the long term and sustainably.
Our GAMECHANGER is also influenced and inspired by yoga on days that focus on mobility for athletes. Especially these sessions, whose relevance is often underestimated, significantly reduce the frequency of injuries and thus ultimately increase performance to the next level.
With these training exercises you can work on the best form of your football career every day at home, just like the professionals - there has never been anything like this before!
Let's change football together forever.
Be Focused. Be Fearless. B42