In preparation for his debut at Bayern Munich, Ryan asked me to train his mobility. I was so excited, not only I got to work with Ryan, but also because the focus on mobility and yoga among top athletes increases.
And this is why I find that a very healthy and smart development:
- It prevents injuries.
- You learn to feel your own body as good as possible and control it perfectly (connection between mental and physical health).
- You learn to deal with stress by breathing in the right way. As a result, you recover faster and deliver better performance.
Who wouldn't want that?
Especially for soccer players it turns out to be a valuable addition. Just think of the movements that the players and the goalkeeper have to make. A sliding, tackling or a quick turn are unnatural movements that your muscles are not used to, and that makes it tricky. With yoga (when I say yoga, I also mean mobility exercises) you can train these muscles well. You simulate match-real situations in movements where you have to keep your body in balance. Your core has to be strong, which makes it easier for you to balance. Very useful when you end up in a physical duel!
The above was also the reason for Ryan to get started with this training because soccer is an injury-prone sport, he unfortunately knows what I mean. So the task was to make his ankle stronger and to prevent other injuries. How we did that, you might ask? Below are some exercises that we did together.
Each workout we started with our breathing, 4 counts in through the nose and 4 counts out through the nose. We kept this up the whole training, well unless we had to laugh hard, but in the end we picked it up again.
Then we started working with the hamstrings and the lower back. Especially the hamstrings were very short in the beginning and therefore painful, but after 2 weeks there was already such an improvement. At first his hands did not touch the ground when he bent forward with his legs outstretched, but he would not be a top athlete if he couldn’t take that 'stretch' well. And eventually through his perseverance, he achieved to touch the ground during the last training, how cool!
Balance exercises were always a big part of our training. As a soccer player you have to be constantly in balance because you are often on one leg unnoticed. Just stand on one leg. You keep your standing leg straight and strong and you pull the other leg up in 90 degrees. You stay standing even if you get a (small) push? Or do you fall out of your pose without a push? Sounds so easy, but practice shows otherwise. It was a kind of game to get Ryan off balance. At first it was easy, but after a lot of practice it became more and more difficult for me until he even stood like a rock!
For that he also needed his core. Now you're probably thinking, yes of course, but why are you going to train them with him while he has such great abs already? What we noticed was that Ryan had trained his abs in a different way and that for example planking was not that easy at all, let alone the boatpose... For those who know what that is, I challenge you! That's how I challenged Ryan. And he was happy to take that challenge. Because fighting and training hard is in him as a top athlete he also managed to do this pose. Respect!
What a joy it was to be able to train with this man. Not only did I enjoy his top sport mentality but also because he's just a very nice guy! In all respects, therefore, a privilege.
Thank you Ryan! In the next blog about this training, I will show you all the exercises I did with him. So are you curious and do you want to try it out to improve your mobility and muscle movement?
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