Yoga poses for calf and Achilles injury prevention

Calf tears and achilles ruptures are among the most common squash injuries, and serious trauma can result in months off of the court. A recent example is American pro, Amanda Sohby, who suffered a partial achilles tear up 2-0 and 10-5 in the semi-finals of a $70k event in Colombia Often they are caused by sudden sideways or lunging motions that are common in sports like squash, tennis and soccer.

Luckily there are many things you can do to help reduce your risk of injury including maintaining and increasing your calf and ankle flexibility, and strengthening the calf, hamstring, adductor and gluteal muscles

Today I would like to show you how to use yoga poses to help out with your calf and ankle flexibility.

Here are several yoga poses I recommend:

Downward Dog (Sanskrit: Parvatasana)

How to Do It:

Fold forward at the waist. Bend your knees, and walk your hands forward until your body is like a mountain: the front body forms one slope, hips are the peak, and your legs form the other slope. At first, keep your knees bent and focus on lifting your hips high — your mountain peak. Then gently (and gently is the key), pedal one heal at a time toward the ground. Slowly, over time, your heels will come closer and closer to the earth and may perhaps land. This provides a phenomenal stretch for achilles, calves, and the entire backs of the legs. Remember: never force a stretch. Take time, and breathe. Weight your palms and feet evenly.

Half Splits (Sanskrit: Hanumanasana)

Start in a lunge position with your right knee forward, left knee landed on the ground.  Then shift your weight backwards as your right toes lift and you come onto your front heel. From here, hand can come onto blocks or the floor. Bow toward your leg without rounding your spine. For a deeper stretch, continue into the splits by walking your left leg back.

Hanumanasana is a deep stretch for the backs of the legs. Hold for at least five breaths, more to really lengthen the connective tissue (fascia).

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