How to... boost your bal­ance

In­jury preven­tion ex­pert, Sharon Hei­daripour, used this yoga rou­tine with the Ar­se­nal and Chelsea stars – try it for your­self to im­prove strength and flex­i­bil­ity

FourFourTwo - - CONTENTS - Get more sports re­hab, fit­ness and yoga ad­vice from Sharon on In­sta­gram @sharon_hei­daripour

Tree pose

Are you no stranger to feel­ing a decade older when crawl­ing out of bed the day af­ter a game? Make this move a part of your pre-match warm-up. “Foot­ballers will of­ten suf­fer from stiff hips af­ter years of jump­ing, kick­ing and turn­ing on the dom­i­nant side,” ex­plains Hei­daripour. “Hold this po­si­tion for around 15-20 sec­onds, then re­peat it with your op­po­site leg to open up your groin and hip.”

Sin­gle-leg side plank pose

We have had enough of you mak­ing ex­cuses for get­ting bul­lied off the ball. This ex­er­cise will boost your abil­ity to re­tain pos­ses­sion and then make a pass. “I used this move a lot with Me­sut Özil. It repli­cated him push­ing away an op­po­nent, while lift­ing his leg in a foot­ball-spe­cific fash­ion helped to strengthen his groin.”

Stand­ing pi­geon

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s a handy yoga pose de­signed to get your body work­ing in sync. “Foot­ball op­er­ates in three planes of move­ment – side to side, up and down, and ro­ta­tional – and yoga is the same. This will aid your strength, bal­ance, mo­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity.”

Half moon pose

If you can mas­ter this move, you will soon be able to slalom past de­fend­ers with­out fall­ing flat on your face. Ace. “En­sure you are in per­fect align­ment, so your arm and leg are in a straight line. This will im­prove your bal­ance on one leg – which you’re go­ing to need for al­most ev­ery ac­tion in a match – as well as ac­ti­vat­ing glute mus­cles.”

War­rior III pose

We don’t want any nasty mus­cle in­juries ru­in­ing your sea­son, so lis­ten up and add this to your train­ing regime. “This aims to en­hance bal­ance and strength on your stand­ing leg and switches on your glutes. Mov­ing your leg for­wards and kick­ing through mim­ics ex­actly what hap­pens dur­ing a match. It’s per­fect to do be­fore a game.”

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