During the off-season, athletes have quite a bit of leeway on what they should be focusing on. Their training focus depends on their health. For example, if an athlete is healthy and ready to go, he/she can have a pretty rigorous off-season that includes practicing vinyasa, or dynamic, yoga. However, if the athlete incurred an injury during the season it’s important to focus on rehab, physical therapy, or corrective flexibility.

Corrective flexibility is designed to correct common postural dysfunctions, muscle imbalances, and joint dysfunctions. Corrective flexibility training incorporates self-myofascial release (SMR), static stretching, and neuromuscular stretching (NMS).

Let’s take a closer look at why corrective flexibility is beneficial for volleyball athletes:

Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a flexibility technique that focuses on the neural and fascial systems in the body. SMR concentrates on alleviating myofascial trigger points and areas of hyper-irritability located within a band of muscle. This form of flexibility training incorporates the concept of autogenic inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility. Once a sensitive region has been identified, a foam roller or therapy ball(s) is held on that region for 30 seconds.

Connective Tissue

Fascial systems in the body are composed of connective tissue. Connective tissue is composed of two types of protein-based fibers: collagenous and elastic fibers.

Collagenous fibers are composed mainly of strong, inelastic collagen, one of the most common proteins in the body.
Elastic fibers contain elastin, a highly extensible protein capable of returning to its initial length after being stretched or compressed. Connective tissues of importance to flexibility and the musculoskeletal system include tendons, which connect muscle to bone; ligaments, which connect bone to bone; and fascia, which bind muscles into separate groups.

Connective tissue has multiple functional categories including:

  • Enclose and separate tissues
  • Connect dissimilar tissues
  • Support and movement
  • Energy storage
  • Cushion and insulate
  • Transport
  • Protection
Healthy Joints

All tissues contribute to joint stiffness to varying degrees. Joint capsule and ligaments represent 47% of joint stiffness, followed by muscle fascia (41%), tendon (10%), and skin (2%). Although the myofascial system is ranked second, this tissue is a primary focus of a flexibility routine. Tissue properties of the muscle and fascia allow for greater elasticity and a greater adaptive potential than ligamentous tissue. Furthermore, tendons are biologically designed to transmit tension to the skeleton, so elasticity would be counter to its primary function. Overstretching ligaments can produce unstable joints. Unstable joints can alter the normal length–tension relationships, force–couple relationships, and joint arthrokinematics, leading to synergistic dominance and faulty movement patterns that in turn initiate the cumulative injury cycle by placing unwanted stress on the entire kinetic chain.

A great way to keep the joints stable and manipulate the muscles and tissues to your advantage is to incorporate SMR, corrective flexibility, or as we call it: MOBILITY.

On-Demand SMR for Athletes

Our on-demand platform, YAX Online, features 200+ videos of recovery methods such as yoga, breathwork, mediation, SMR, and more – all designed to improve performance, decrease injury, and increase playing time.

Access SMR videos on YAX Online
After signing your team up, your athletes can take advantage of all the SMR videos. They will need 1-2 therapy balls (or lacrosse balls or tennis balls).

Want to learn more? Sign up to receive a free webinar recording about the Benefits of Yoga for Volleyball Athletes!

In this recorded webinar, you will learn:
– What the benefits of yoga for athletes are
– Why you need to incorporate yoga modalities into your training
– How to increase performance and prevent injury potential
– When to incorporate recovery to best fit your athlete’s schedule

Want to provide on-demand SMR (as well as yoga, breathwork, and meditation) to your athletes? Fill out this form for a quote.

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About the Author

Patricia Bomar is the co-owner of Yoga Athletex LLC with her sister, Kalynn Evans. She was an athlete from the age of 4, playing multiple sports competitively at the club level for 14 years. Her college years included club and intramural sports. She earned her B.S. in Sport Management from Texas A&M in 2007. While studying she worked under the TAMU Track & Field coach, as a personal trainer following the NSCA – CSCS program. At the time she was also a volleyball and softball coach and was an avid member of CrossFit. In 2013 she earned her 200 hour yoga certification and in 2015 earned her 300 hour yoga certification. Currently she has earned the ERYT500 standard. Shortly after, she became certified in Functional Movement Systems (FMSC). In 2017, she acquired her NASM – CPT certificate and continues to attend several intensives and workshops to stay up to date with current exercise science. Her latest certification was the fitness nutrition specialist (FNS) acquired through NASM. She is currently an official education provider for the National Academy of Sport Medicine, Athletics and Fitness Association of America and the Yoga Alliance. With over 17 years experience, Patricia has a strong passion for bringing the healing benefits of yoga to her fellow athletes for injury prevention and increased performance.