After a big kick set what areas of your body tend to tighten up? Most likely one of the areas is the quads. These muscles are responsible for the extension of the knee, which is an important part of all kicking as well as starts and turns.
Since swimmers use their quads so much the tightness that many feel creates restrictions in the mobility of both the knees and hips. These restrictions can make some yoga poses almost impossible to do. If you have extremely tight quads a great pose to help stretch them out is Cat Pulling Its Tail pose.
This pose is often used in yin and restorative practices and should be held for one to three minutes so you can allow the quads to relax and release.
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Sun Salutations are an incredible way to warm up the body, build the connection between movement and breath as well as developing focus.
Sun Salutation A activates many areas of the body while developing active mobility. During this series of movements you will engage the core, shoulders, legs and back while creating mobility in the shoulders, back, hamstrings and ankles.
Sun Salutation A can be an incredible way to warm up on dryland before hitting the water. When working with swimmers and multi-sport athletes there are a few finer points to focus on that may be a little bit different from how other move through the sequence.
Focus on Stability
For any pose to benefit you as a swimmer your joints need to be stable. When moving through a sequence there can be more of a focus of getting into a specific shape rather than ensuring joint stability. It is that joint stability will enable you to create power in new ranges of motion and help you prevent injury.
Prioritizing the Length of the Spine
Quite often the length of the spine is compromised to achieve other goals within a practice. The positioning and length of the spine along with creating joint stability should be the priorities when coming into any pose.
Developing Body Awareness
Body awareness is important for all swimmers to develop. Learning how to engage and relax different muscles to achieve positioning of the body develops proprioception, which is a very important aspect of overall athleticism. When moving through a Sun Salutation A the first time move through it slowly, which will give you the opportunity to truly understand how to position your body and the finer points of each pose.
In the video below I go through some of the finer points of a Sun Salutation A
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Is a 500-hour trained yoga teacher and therapist. He began teaching yoga after a 20-year swim coaching career.