Jul 25 2017

6 Yoga Stretches to Prevent Lumbar Strain in Tennis, Baseball, and Golf


Three popular sports that utilize the powerful muscles of the back, hips, and shoulders are tennis, baseball, and golf. You need strong and flexible back muscles to facilitate the smooth twisting and turning of your trunk, strong hip muscles to stabilize your hips as you go into the power swing, and strong shoulder muscles as you swing.

Any wrong move could cause injuries to your muscles, tendons, as well as ligaments like lumbar strain, rotator cuff injury, and hip muscle strain. That’s why you need to strengthen these muscles and improve their flexibility to prevent injuries and help you keep your body’s balance.

Below are some yoga exercises that will improve your muscle strength, increase your muscle flexibility, and, at the same time, maintain proper spine alignment.


Vrksasana or Tree Pose

Yoga Pose 1

Rationale: Improve core muscles and posture.


Position: Standing


  • Stand with your back straight.
  • Clasp your hands together like in a prayer.
  • Raise your right foot and rest it against the inside of your left knee.
  • Exhale gently as you tighten your abdominal muscles and maintain a straight back.
  • Hold the positive for about five to ten breaths.
  • Release, go back to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.


Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold with Hands Clasped Behind the Back

Yoga pose 2

Rationale: For stretching the hamstrings, lower back muscles, and chest and shoulder muscles.


Position: Standing


  • Stand with your back straight.
  • Inhale gently as you bring your arms above your head. Do tighten your abdominal muscles to prevent your back from arching.
  • Exhale gently as you bend forward at the trunk and swing your arms behind your back, interlacing your fingers together. Do keep your knees straight if you can, but bending it slightly is okay, too.
  • Hold the position for about five to ten breaths.

Note: If you can’t reach both hands together, you can use a towel to bridge the gap and then gently work your hands closer till they nearly touch.


Gomukhasana or Cow Face Position

Yoga pose 3

Rationale: For shoulder and hip joint flexibility as well as back muscle strength and support.


Position: Seated position.


  • Cross your right thigh over your left thigh.
  • Slowly and gently slide your feet in opposite directions, closing the gap between your thighs. Make sure that your right knee is in line with your left knee, although a small space would be okay.
  • Inhale gently and then slowly lift your left arm, flex your elbow, and rest your hand over your right shoulder blade or upper back.
  • With your right hand, press down on your left elbow to stretch the muscles.
  • Bring your right hand back down to your side, swing it around your back, and then reach for your left hand.
  • Keeping your back straight, maintain the posture for a couple of minutes, breathing gently in and out in between.
  • nce done, switch sides. Only this time, your left thigh should be over your right thigh, and your right arm is raised.

Note: If your hands don’t reach, it’s okay. Just hold a small towel with your left hand and reach it with your right hand.


Navasana or Boat Position

Yoga pose 4

Rationale: For strengthening and flexibility of your abdominals, hip flexors, and back muscles.


Position: Seated position.


  • Bend your knees with your feet fully planted on the floor.
  • Hold the back of your thighs with your hands and then slowly lean backward to lengthen your spine. Make sure though that you tighten your abdominals to support your back.
  • Slowly raise your feet till they are about the level of your knees. Make sure that your neck is straight, your chin is not touching your chest, and your abdominal muscles are tight. You can even let go of your thighs at this point and extend your arms out.
  • Hold the position for about a minute.
  • From the half-boat position, gently straighten your knees and legs till your body forms a V.
  • Reach your arms forward. Your shoulders should be drawn back to open and stretch your chest muscles.
  • Hold the position for about five to ten breaths.


Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Position

Yoga pose 5

Rationale: For flexibility of spine, shoulders, and hips.


Position: Seated position.


  • With your spine straight and legs extended straight out in front of you, bend your right knee and cross your right foot over your left thigh.
  • With your left hand on the floor next to your left hip, exhale gently as you twist your body to the left.
  • Inhale gently and then place your right elbow on the outside of your left knee. This should lengthen your spine.
  • Rotate your neck to the left and look over your left shoulder.
  • Hold the position for about three to five breaths, release, go back to the starting position, and repeat on the opposite side.


Supta Matsyendrasana or Reclining Spinal Twist

Yoga pose 6

Rationale: For spinal mobility and flexibility.


Position: Supine.


  • With your back flat on the floor, extend both your arms till they’re at shoulder level.
  • Inhale deeply and exhale gently as you rotate your hips towards your left side, bringing your right leg over your left leg. Make sure that your left leg is kept straight, and your right hip is flexed at a 90-degree angle.
  • Rest your left hand on the outside of your right knee. Your right arm should still be extended at the level of your shoulders.
  • Rotate your neck to your right to lengthen neck muscles.
  • Hold the position for about five to ten breaths, release, go back to starting position, and repeat on the opposite side.


These yoga poses are meant to maintain and improve stability, strength, and flexibility of your back, hips, and shoulder muscles. However, these yoga exercises won’t be able to prevent injury if you don’t follow these 5 principles:

  • Eat healthy and well-balanced meals. (more vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and less meat and sugar)
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Follow a proper warm-up and cool-down exercises like simple muscle stretching exercises or slow jogging in place for a few minutes.

If you want to feel stronger and make your power swings even more powerful, practice these simple yoga exercises before and after each game.


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Douglas Won, M.D.

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1 comment

posted by Javier
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 20:15

Great article. Very informative.

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The first in Texas to perform micro-endoscopic laser spine surgery with an incision as small as 3 mm, Dr. Won advises multiple international spine technology companies and has helped design many groundbreaking tools for the minimally invasive spine surgery industry.

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