How Yoga can help you if you practice… Inline skating

Yoga and Inline skating

Choosing a particular sport of your choice, examine and explain the common injury profile for that sport. Please include things like risk factors, treatment methods and how you feel that yoga techniques may play a role in terms of rehab or injury prevention.

Throughout the late 80s & 90s Inline skating became very popular when the brand rollerblade came into the marketplace.  In Canada and the United States children would be seen everywhere recreational skating and playing roller hockey.  Aggressive Skating was introduced during this period as well.  “Aggressive inline skating is a form of inline skating executed on specially designed inline skates with focus on grinding and spins. Aggressive skating can take place on found street obstacles or at skate parks. 

Street skating primarily consists of performing grinds on ledges and rails, as well as jumping tall heights known as “gaps.” Park skating recreates these obstacles with the additions of bowls and ramps on which “vert” skating can be performed” (Wikipedia). 

This paper will refer to both inline skating as a recreational sport and aggressive skating, the risk factors and injuries involved in the sport as well as how yoga can help in terms of injury prevention and rehabilitation.

This paper will refer to both inline skating as a recreational sport and aggressive skating, the risk factors and injuries involved in the sport as well as how yoga can help in terms of injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Recreational inline skating injuries include, wrists, elbows, ankles, head, back pain and knee injuries.  More then double the amount of fractures occur compared to soft tissue injuries.  Mainly due to falling while skating, which is why protective equipment is especially used for beginners learning to skate.   “A key factor in the high inline skating injury rate may also be the reluctance to use personal protective equipment; in fact, one recent study found that only 6% of recreational inline skaters regularly use the four recommended protective devices – helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards.” (“Predictors of Injury among Adult Recreational inline Skaters: A Multi-City Study,” American Journal of Public Health, Volume 89(2), pp. 238-241, 1999).   Also, scary to note that 5% of injuries were head injuries most of them being in the form of a concussion.

Aggressive skaters are on the other hand usually very experienced and also tend to not wear any protective gear.  Most of their injuries occur from jerking their body in different directions while trying to land and perform a specific stunt as well as falling badly and often.  These jumps and spins overuse the back muscles and spine causing injury.  Additionally, back pain is very common due to ongoing stress of maintaining balance while you skate.  Aggressive skaters have a slightly forward postural alignment while skating fast, which also increases their pain in their backs, most notable lumbar pain.  The back, hips and gluteus are often the target area for impacts from falls and landing attempts.  The legs in general are very strong, as they have to withstand the impact of the jumps.

The main muscles used in inline skating are located in the lateral plane of the legs, the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus.  As well as the inner thigh, groin and hip flexors are also activated in an abduction action of the legs during skating. Not to forget the calf muscles that need to be very strong as well as you are gliding and balancing on one foot. Oli Benet “ex professional inline skater” recently came in for a private class in the studio and you could tell that sitting on the floor cross-legged (sukhasana) was very challenging.  This was due to stiff hip flexors and strong legs.  Yoga could be very helpful in aiding and lengthening the muscles of the legs; some postures could include: Prasarita Padottanasana, Upavesasana, Paschimottanasana and Janu Sirsanasa. It should be noted that you wouldn’t want to stretch out the muscles on the legs too much as they need to be very short and strong to support the body on landings from jumps.

Last week Oli came in after a session of aggressive skating and jumps and he had pain in his ankles and knees.  As he has not been off skating on ramps in a while coming to yoga really helped stretch out his ankles with some simple ankle rolls and flipping the feet around in Bhujangasana.  His knees hurt because the muscles around his knees were a little weak to maintain his landings. Also, he was constantly hyperextending the knees past the ankles while skating and landing. We did some strengthening Warrior poses concentrating on activating the muscles around the knee as well as some of the other yoga poses mentioned above.

Due to the strong legs and poor posture and impact on the body, yoga could really help in stretching and strengthening the muscles around the spine to aid in back pain.  Inline skaters would do well with a balanced yoga class concentrating on heart opening poses (Dhanurasna), twists such as Ardha Matsyendrasana, hip openers and abdominal strengthening poses such as Kumbhakasana, back strengthening spinal movements (Yoga Synergy) and forward bends would really benefit aggressive skaters’ bodies.  Pranayama techniques would also help them prevent injuries as well.  If they are concentrating on their breath while “in the zone” before a big jump they are probably less likely to fall and hurt themselves.  More movement in the spine would also help them twist and turn better in the air, which means they would also less likely fall.

Wearing protective gear would be the best solution for injury prevention. Most if not all aggressive and inline skaters would prefer skating without the bulk of protective equipment, therefore yoga can be a great second option, as well as a great physiotherapist and some ice packs on hand too.


Oli Bennet –

By Heather