If you're a baseball player, you know that stretching and flexibility training are important aspects of your game. But did you know that yoga can also help improve your performance? Yoga is a great way to increase flexibility, strength, and balance. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of yoga for baseball players and provide some tips on how to get started!
6 Yoga Poses to Prevent Injury and Promote Recovery for Baseball Players
Standing Forward Bend
Crescent Lunge w/ Prayer Twist
Pyramid w/ Arms Behind Back
4 Huge Benefits of Yoga for Baseball Players
Yoga helps to speed up the recovery process by flushing toxins and promoting circulation to tired muscles. Anthony Rizzo is one example of many MLB players embracing regular yoga practice to aid in recovery.
Increases Range of Motion
Yoga can help increase range of motion by slowly pushing muscles beyond their normal limits gradually and safely.
Strength and Power
Greater flexibility offers greater potential for muscle and strength gains. When your muscles have achieved a full range of motion, greater strength gains may be made.
While most athletes feel comfortable in the batter's box, in the outfield, or on the mound alone, some experience unexplained periods of being unable to throw or perform actions they've done thousands of times. In baseball, this is known as the 'yips'.
In many cases, there is nothing physically wrong with an athlete. Instead, the issue is often psychological.
What is a good yoga workout for baseball players?
Practicing yoga doesn't have to be time consuming to see big benefits. Like professional athletes, focusing on functional movements on key muscles is key. Whether the in season or off season, there's no right or wrong time for working on flexibility.
For beginners, practicing 2-3 times a week for at least 30 minutes can provide substantial benefits as long as it's done consistently for 3-4 weeks.
If in season or during heavy periods of training when muscle fatigue is a factor, short 15-20 minute sessions following a weight lifting or hitting are adequate.
Here's two downloadable workouts that can be down following a training session or done as a standalone workout in the off season.
[Insert downloadable workouts here]
Most Common Injuries for Baseball Players
Overuse injuries are one of the most common reasons that sidelines players. From the youth to professional level, these injuries do not discriminate based on age or skill level.
MUCL - Tommy John Surgery
In regards to overuse injuries, the medial ulnar collateral ligment (MUCL) being overused is so common, it has it's own surgery - Tommy John Surgery.
The MUCL is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in throwing athletes. It's located on the inner aspect of the elbow and attaches to the medial epicondyle of the humerus and ulna.
It helps resist valgus stress or excessive inward bending at the elbow. When this ligament is overused, micro-tears can occur. Overtime, these micro tears can accumulate and lead to a tear of the ligament.
With an average recovery time of over 17 months, injury prevention and regular rest is key to staying in the game.
Just as common as ligament injuries, muscle strains are also a very common injury in baseball players. A muscle strain is an injury that results when a muscle is stretched beyond its functional range.
Muscle strains can be caused by overuse, sudden force or tension, or inadequate rest.
Symptoms of a muscle strain can vary depending on the severity of the injury, but can include pain, muscle spasm, swelling, and bruising.
Treatment varies depending on the severity of the strain.
Key Areas Yoga Helps to Improve
Chest and Shoulders
Is Yoga Good for Pitchers?
YES! Pitchers often have a lot of tightness in their upper back and shoulders from throwing. Yoga can help to release this tension, improve range of motion, and increase strength with regular practice and adequate recovery time between pitching sessions.
In addition, yoga can help to improve mental clarity and focus, which can be helpful for pitchers who are struggling with the 'yips'. While training routines will vary based on frequency of pitching, age, skill level, and other factors, 10 to 20 minutes of the poses at the beginning of this article are a good starting point, given physician approval.