Does Yoga improve athletic performance?
It might, but we don’t know exactly how. Jules Mitchell was researching how yoga affects athletics performance for her upcoming book and discovered a gap in the literature. There’s plenty of research about the SAID principle and adaptation, but not enough about yoga’s impact on sports performance. In this episode we talk about the only two studies that cover this topic as well as their many limitations. Hopefully there will be more studies about this in the future so we can have more clarity.
- The first study is from the international journal of yoga. From the title you would think that it’s looking at how it improves athletic performance, but it’s not. It’s looking at balance and flexibility.
- Just because they acquired more range of motion doesn’t mean they can utilize it in their sport
- If you skim this paper you might walk away thinking that the results tell you that yoga makes them better athletes. In actuality this study tells us that if you practice yoga you get better at yoga.
- The results from the second study in the Journal of Sports Medicine are limited because there was no control group. There was nothing to compare it to. Was it the yoga that gave them more functional range or was it because they introduced novel movements?
- Another challenge in this study is that many of the conclusions were subjective and were not actually measured or recorded. For instance, “coaches felt that the athletes were better at disassociating their torso from their pelvis and thus increase the efficiency of their stride.” Neither efficiency nor stride were measured.
- These 2 studies are not enough to provide a conclusion about the effects of yoga on athletic performance.
ACSM’s components of fitness
Todd Hargrove on the SAID Principle