Guest Blog: Ai Sullivan

So you want Flipper-Like Feet Like Michael Phelps?!

Take A Plunge and Try these “Dryland” Yoga Poses.

You’ve all seen articles on yoga that try to turn into a believer – yoga is not just about stretching, or contortionism, chanting mantras or burning incense! Adding a consistent yoga practice in your weekly training regimen will help you avoid injuries and sharpen your mental focus!

Swimmers in particular need to focus on strengthening and improving the flexibility on the entire shoulder; the chest and pecs; abdominals; the hip flexors; the ankles; and the latissimus. Check out these yoga moves to keep you in the game:

  • Ankles – Kneeling Toe Tuck: So you want flipper-like feet like Michael Phelps? When your ankles are flexible and open, you can create the same flipper like movement.  First, kneel down and tuck your toes. Gradually move your seat back towards your heel. Hold pose for 2-3 minutes. This pose opens the arches of your feet, which helps for balance. It is said to help with symptoms of plantar fasciitis as well.
  • Shoulders – Downward Facing Dog: Start with hands and knees on the mat. Lift your knees off the mat and straighten your legs as much as your hamstrings allows. Imagine yourself an upside down “V” with your hips being the pointiest part of the “V”. Drop your shoulders down and back to avoid crunching your shoulders into your ears. Practicing this pose correctly will help you hold rhomboids in place, avoiding rotator cuff injuries by using your muscles instead of tendons bearing the burden.
  • Breathe – Pranayama Exercises

Yoga is not just about the asana (poses) but also encompass Pranayama (Breath) exercises. Swimmers are only productive as his/her ability to breathe..Master this Pranayama exercise:

  1. On the inhale, fill the belly up with air. Then when the belly is full, draw in a little more breath and let that air expand into the rib cage causing the ribs to widen apart
  2. On the exhale, let the air go first from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together, and them from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.

Repeat this deep breathing into the belly and rib cage for about five-10 minutes.

 

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