Yoga. It used to be what you thought girls did instead of lifting weights, but it’s way more than that.
I was fortunate enough to be exposed to yoga at a young age when my mom dragged me to a class one Sunday morning in 7th grade. For the first 15 minutes, I could not stop laughing because I couldn’t take it seriously. I was immature, ignorant, and naïve.
What could this class of breathing and stretching possibly do for me?
Once I finally gave the class my undivided attention, my mind was blown. The next time I stepped on the field to play in a lacrosse game, I couldn’t believe what my body was capable of.
Here are the main reasons why if you are a serious lacrosse player, you should practice yoga:
Lacrosse is known as the fastest game on two feet, and for good reason. If you don’t have speed, it’s going to be hard for you to find a spot on the field. Having great range of motion in my hips and shoulders allows one to generate more power off of the starting line and out of cuts in the open field.
Essentially, yoga helps athletes to run more smoothly rather than using poor technique and efficiency due to tightness in the joints, muscles, and tendons.
Range of Motion
Being able to use full range of motion when running helps to increase the distance taken in each stride, which leads to having to exert oneself less to cover the same amount of distance.
Your shoulders will loosen up the more you practice yoga, allowing you to increase the torque on your shot, and your ability to cut in all directions.
Your muscles are not going to be nearly as tight as they used to be. By being loose, you will be able to still move at full speed late in the 4th quarter.
Yoga focuses a great deal on core strength. Core strength is essential to any athlete. I can’t begin to tell you how much yoga helps an athlete utilize their weight training and speed training to it’s full potential. Bench Press, Shoulder Press, Curls, Shrugs, Tricep Pulldowns, Squats, Deadlifts, Lunges, Quad extensions, and Hamstring curls. In lacrosse, almost any motion we make on the field, whether is be passing, shooting, throwing slap checks, or driving someone behind GLE (goal-line extended), involves generating power from our lower body and transferring it to our upper body.
What connects those two parts of your body together? You guessed it: your core.
Banging out 50 sit-ups isn’t going to build a strong core for you. It will help, but sit-ups only focus on your abdominal muscles. Your core consists of SO much more than that: your hips, lower back, obliques, glutes, etc.
Yoga CONSTANTLY challenges your core to balance and move with your own body weight. More so than any other form of exercise I have ever done. A strong core allows you to utilize all of the hard work you do in the weight room. I believe that there is no better way to develop a strong core other than yoga.
I also know that yoga has helped me to stay healthy throughout my career.
I have never pulled a muscle in my life, to this date, which I think has a great deal to do with the fact that yoga loosens up all of those tight muscle group areas which athletes use in their sports and train heavily with weights.
For example, a lacrosse athlete trains their lower body by doing lots of sprints on the field and things such as squats and lunges in the weight room. These movements and exercises cause lots of stress on the glutes, hamstrings, and quads of an athlete. Over time, and during training, these areas can become very tight as more muscles builds in these areas, cause loss in range of motion and tightness in the muscles.
Yoga helps to eliminate all of these problems and to keep athletes healthy and on the field.