How Exercising Harms Athletes
Although practice and training is required to be an elite athlete not every one of them understands what they are doing with their body
The irony about exercise is that it can harm your sports performance if it’s not done correctly.
Of course, you need to exercise to perform in sport, but you need to know how to move properly to be efficient with your body and mind also.
I’m sure you can understand this when you think of all the times you’ve gone to a gym and seen people struggling to put one leg after another on a treadmill. Yet, the treadmill is carrying them along and their upper body is doing something completely different than their legs are. Similarly, some gym users count the kilograms on the heaviest weights and grab them to prove to themselves they can lift them.
Yet they clearly aren’t doing it correctly.
Their body may move on the treadmill and the weights may go up, yet it’s not being done efficiently or even safely.
And you don’t have to be a qualified personal trainer to notice this. But you do need to be qualified and experienced enough to help a person in this area.
In my time helping people like this I`ve understood their body and mind’s needs and why it’s important to be safe and efficient in what they do. This helps an athlete avoid injury and understand how their body works.
And it also helps their brain understand the correct movement which concentrates their mind when they are performing at the highest level.
One of the physical strategies that I use is yoga.
Yoga allows athletes to become more physically and mentally aware of their movement and their mind too.
Many years ago I had a yoga studio. There I used to have individuals drop in and pay for classes or pay memberships to avail of the studio’s facilities and the full-time class timetable. But I also had many sports teams that would book the facility whilst I instructed them in the classes.
And you`d be surprised and how poorly some top-class elite sports players use their bodies when you observe this from close proximity.
One such player was a very tall and strongly build individual. At 6’4” tall and nearly 200 pounds weight he wasn’t someone you`d want to run into on the field of play. And he had grit too as he pushed himself through the basic yoga postures. However, within a few minutes of the 90-minute class, it became obvious that his whole physiology was way off what it should be.
Although he was big and strong his body was unable to move with any fluency or rhythm.
After giving him plenty of visual cues to set up his postures like where to put his feet on the yoga mat and how to use his hands he was still unable to venture into any of the proper postures. Not to mention do them properly.
This is not unusual in a yoga class. Generally, most drop-in individuals that used the studio would have one or two postures that they would have difficulty in getting into. But he was no ordinary drop in studio user, as he was supposed to be a top athlete.
And as an elite sportsman playing at the top of his game he was unable to begin moving his body into more than 90% of the physical yoga postures.
Simple things like reaching his hands out over his head, straightening them, and pressing his palms together were impossible to him. His upper body was too stiff. I had to stand beside him and grab his wrists and tug his arms towards the ceiling to make sure he could begin to stretch his arms upward.
This caused him lots of discomfort.
And eventually, after about half an hour he was done for. He had to lay down on the mat as his head began to spin. Reaching for his water bottle and looking around he saw other athletes in the studio who were not as big or strong as him but could move more fluidly in and out of the postures.
It was clear that the way he was using his body was not in his best interests.
Even though he had the strength he was unable to maximize how he used it. And injury was also going to be a reality in his life soon, or so I thought.
And I was right.
That was the last yoga class that he attended with me. As a fan of his team, I went to the games and cheered the team on. But his movement was waning each time I saw him play.
Within a few months he got badly injured and it happened when he was training alone. He never even lifted anything or hit off something.
His body just gave way.
For the next couple of months, he was getting treatment and his absence meant that his team was knocked out of the championship. Because he was a vital player to their cause his absence was huge.
So as a sports person know your body properly or watch how the exercise will stop it moving permanently.