The combination of mental and physical strength that yoga promotes makes it the perfect complement to any sport. As you utilize your breath to get deeper into poses, you’re not only learning how to better control your mind, but you’re preparing your body to be more resistant to injuries. Attending an hour and a half long yoga class every day might not fit into your schedule, but you can probably take ten minutes a day to practice these five poses that are optimized to complement beach volleyball perfectly. Go ahead, try integrating these into your morning or nighttime routine and start reaping the benefits today!
Long low lunge: This is the perfect pose to counteract volleyball ready position. When your knees are bent and you’re nice and low, your hamstrings are lengthening nicely, but there is one muscle that is shortening no matter how good your technique is: the hip flexor. When you set yourself up in a long low lunge, with the front knee bent and the back leg straight behind you on the floor, you will feel a nice lengthening happening in the hip flexor. Just make sure to keep your muscles engaged here, as if you were squeezing your legs together, to prevent over-stretching the muscles.
Wide-legged deep squat: This pose will increase flexibility of your hips while strengthening your leg muscles at the same time. If you have trouble keeping your heels on the ground in this pose, then widen your stance. An added benefit is the increase in balance.
Shoulder stretch: Volleyball players work their shoulders non-stop during a game: hitting, spiking, serving, blocking—you name it, your shoulders are involved. Lay on your belly with your arms spread out to a T, and then roll over onto one shoulder. As you become more flexible, you’ll be able to go deeper into the stretch.
Dancer: This is the ultimate combination of balance, strength, and flexibility training. Not only will you stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors, you’ll learn how to balance while strengthening the standing leg.
Pigeon: You can opt for either the traditional seated pigeon pose, or move to a reclined position. It can be hard on the front knee to be in full pigeon, so if you feel any twinges, go ahead and try the reclined position—all that matters is that you’re getting the stretch your body needs, so don’t worry about making the pose perfect. This is the ultimate hip-opener and will promote flexibility and mobility.