Monday, November 10, 2008
Om Gal Joins the Patriots for the Pre-Game Stretch
Whether you're headed out for a run, preparing to take your squash opponent to school, or limbering up for the season opener of the company bowling league, you likely have a preferred pre-game stretch, a few signature moves and motions that help you loosen up and get ready to play. My pro-golfer pal, Joe Horowitz, uses twisting poses to simulate his swing, for example. Meanwhile, you can find my friend, Karen Fabian, an avid runner, in viparita karani before a race. Professional cyclist and regular OmGal.com reader J. Alain Ferry opts for lunges as a way to fire up the muscles in his legs before the starting gun fires. New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson cops to Om Gal that he's not a big stretcher, but he's mindful about lengthening his hamstrings with plenty of forward bends before a game, ideally with the help of a teammate or trainer to get a deeper stretch.
For football players, like Watson and his team, pre-game poses of choice depend upon the position of the player. Receivers, such as Watson and, say, Randy Moss, also benefit from twists, to mimic the game-time action of reaching around, receiving a catch, and then, continuing a forward motion. Offensive lineman, given their need to be very grounded and low to the earth, are best served by standing poses, like warriors and utkatasana- which appropriately translates to mean "powerful pose." For defensive players, I might recommend balancing asanas, forward bends, and some protective work for the shoulders. Likewise, a quarterback would benefit from shoulder work, hip postures such as pigeon (which also serve to protect precious knees), and some pranayama to boot. Think about: if you were about to endure four hours of the biggest, strongest, fastest men on the planet trying to clobber you at full speed- you'd need to spend some pre-game time breathing deeply too.
So, what's your favorite way to limber up?