Shoulder injuries are some of the most common injuries suffered by volleyball players. This article will provide you with tools that can help prevent shoulder injuries through yoga.
Volleyball has several technical skills that require players to apply force while having their arms in an overhead position which include serving, spiking, setting and blocking. Because of this players are susceptible to overuse injuries as well as injuries that can be caused due to instability and lack of mobility.
Common shoulder injuries can include tendinitis, bursitis, rotator cuff tears, shoulder separation and partial dislocation.
To be able to prevent these injuries players should focus on creating greater shoulder stability, mobility and scapular awareness.
The following three poses will do just that.
This pose helps increase mobility as well and scapular awareness.
- Start in a kneeling position with the top of your feet on the ground
- *Bring your big toes together and your knees out wide
- Fold forward at your hips bringing the forehead down onto the mat while stretching your arms out in front of you
- On an inhale walk your fingers forward extending your arms until you feel a stretch in both sides of your back
- Once you have reached your maximum range of motion (ROM) press your finger tips down into the ground and feel as if you are pulling the mat back towards your armpits engaging the musculature surrounding the shoulder blades
*If it is uncomfortable to bring your knees out wide you can also have the knees together
High Lunge with Extension to Cactus
This pose will increase shoulder mobility as well as developing greater scapular awareness.
- Start in either a high lunge or low lunge with your arms extended overhead
- Ensure that your core is engaged and that you feel your spine long from your tailbone to the crown of your head
- Exhale and bring your arms into a cactus position which means having your elbows and shoulders at a 90° angle
- Inhale and extend your arms overhead feeling the shoulder blades slide up the back without shrugging your shoulders
*You can make this pose more challenging by coming more deeply into the lunge on your exhale and then come back up to the original position on your inhale
High Push up to Down Dog
This movement will increase both shoulder mobility and stability as well as core strength.
- Start in a high push up position ensuring that your core is engaged and that you feel length in your spine from your tailbone to the crown of your head
- Ensure that your fingers are spread wide and that your shoulders are directly over both your elbows and your wrists
- On an exhale press back into a down dog
- In your down dog ensure that your shoulders externally rotated (your elbow pits are pointed away from you and your triceps are coming towards each other) and your spine is long
- On your next inhale shift back into your high pushup
*During the movement make sure that you keep your core engaged and your shoulders stable.
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Jeff Grace is the owner and operator of Excel with Grace which specializes in teaching sport specific yoga.
He is trained in vinyasa (flow), hatha, yin, restorative and therapeutic yoga practices. Jeff is also a 500 hour registered yoga teacher and has diplomas in coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute).