United at a stretch to encourage their young players to avoid injury
Manchester giants employ yoga specialist to work with Academy students to improve their flexibility
Manchester United have engaged Ryan Giggs' yoga coach to work with their Academy students to establish who might be most susceptible to the muscle trouble which plagued him through the middle period of his career.
Sarah Ramsden, who has collaborated with Giggs on the new DVD in which he reveals his personal fitness regime, works for United and Manchester City though United are the club who, in search of the smallest competitive advantage, have asked her to work with their younger players. They are more susceptible to muscle stiffening and loss of mobility than older players because the step up to senior football creates immediate muscular challenges that their bodies are not equipped for.
"Their training volume will ramp up immediately, which means their muscles can stiffen, they suffer loss of mobility – permanently unless they do something about," said Ms Ramsden, who worked for clubs including Preston, Derby and Sunderland before the Manchester clubs engaged her in work which now takes up her entire working week. "It means that what comes into their head they can't make their bodies do any more, and they are suddenly less able to deliver their talent," she added. "It would be remiss to let that problem go and not deal with it."
Players susceptible to the kind of trouble which plagued Giggs will typically have short hamstrings and will be naturally tense, holding tension in their hamstrings. "We have spent years working on Ryan's hamstrings, straightening them out and we are way beyond that stage with him now," said Ms Ramsden, who was at work at United for much of yesterday.
Ms Ramsden, who cites the extraordinary flexibility she has discovered in David Silva at City as evidence of the way Spain trains their players in suppleness, believes that clubs which do so can get a lead on opponents.
"There are so few areas where you can get any advantage now," she said. "You are not going to make players faster or more powerful. Fastness [to a ball] is not just about running but about reach. You see that in a player like Gareth Bale: he has wonderful reach coupled with fantastic strength. There's a perception that the national football style will change, becoming more about fluidity and fast movement. That brings a need for flexibility of the kind the Spanish players show."
Latest in Sport
Manchester United pre-season tour 2015: Louis van Gaal wins battle to relocate friendly - 60,000 refunded to save on 90-mile trip
Wojciech Szczesny was 'lied to' by Arsene Wenger over future after £11m transfer of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech
England vs Japan - Women's World Cup semi-final: what time does it start and what channel is it on?
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Manchester United transfer news: Javier Hernandez nears exit as Liverpool eye move for forward despite revealing Real Madrid video
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 3 Alton Towers Air breaks down: 80 people stuck on broken down Monorail during heatwave
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS