From High School hopefuls to Professional Athletes and Olympians, The Peace In Peace Out Program’s Vital Body Matrix helps athletes of all ages and levels reach their maximum potential. This Mind & Body Based Program, is a fusion of Yoga, Martial Arts, Physical Fitness and Therapy. This unique approach to teaching, training and coaching reduces and prevents injuries, decreases stress, enhances performance and increases endurance.
In a 5 part series, Aly Faber, co-founder of the program, brings us the Top Five Yoga Drills for Swimmers…
Part One – Toes / Feet
The feet are the foundation of our bodies, just as roots are to trees. If the roots fail, the tree will not flourish. If our feet are weak, we will not have proper grounding or footing. This can cause injury and disfunction in the body and mind matrix. In swimming, the foot is one of the most important assets- as it’s fish-like motion can improve every stroke. According to David Marsh, CEO/Director of Coaching for SwimMAC, as well as two-time Olympic coach, seven-time National Team Coach and nine-time NCAA National Coach of the Year and a 13-time SEC Coach of the Year, the foot has to have fluidity and flexibility as well as strength to create a strong swimmer. In training his Elite Teams, we have seen that most swimmers’ feet can get a lot of improvement by creating focused movement patterns such as the heel lift or toe push-up as seen in this photo. This is extremely uncomfortable at first but the holding time and discomfort ease as the exercise is repeated. Start with your hands on the floor for stability and then allow the hands to lift as you gain strength. Once that becomes less challenging try holding for 10, 20 or 30 seconds. Then watch your glide improve- practice makes permanent!
Begin in perfect posture with full foot engagement using all four points of the foot. Lift and spread your toes, press into the balls of your feet, then lay them softly down on the floor. Gently rock back and forth, then go high on the toes and gently sink the heels. Slowly move into toe squat position with heels high and toes flexed. Try bringing your hands to heart center.
“I believe yoga helps athletes relax away from the water, lengthen them after they’ve been broken down, and offer focus/awareness on what’s going on in their body/mind…hopefully they find a balance and understanding of how to challenge themselves through incorporating yoga into training and life” Nate Boyle, World Class Coach of SwimMAC’s Team Elite.