In a quest to increase his flexibility and avoid the muscle pulls that have plagued him over the past year, Ravens wide receiver Michael Campanaro took up yoga and Pilates this offseason.
The River Hill graduate took advice from Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown along with the Ravens' trainers and strength and conditioning staff.
Campanaro has made a full recovery from a partially torn quadriceps that sidelined him during offseason practices this spring. As a rookie last year, his playing time was affected by a lingering pulled hamstring that limited him to four games.
He spent this offseason trying to strike a balance with his upper body and lower body, figuring out if there were any strength and flexibility imbalances that were causing him to strain his leg muscles beyond their limits.
"Yeah, I'm just getting balanced up and finding out what hasn't been working for me in the past and the things that are going to work for me now," Campanaro said. "The whole offseason I've been working here with the staff. I'm feeling good, but I've got to keep stacking days."
The old-school training regimen of most football players doesn't include yoga and Pilates, but Campanaro said he's benefited greatly from incorporating them into his routine.
"It's relaxing," Campanaro said. "It's tough at the same time."
The Clarksville native caught seven passes, 102 yards and a touchdown after being selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft out of Wake Forest.
Now, Campanaro is trying to make up for lost time as he's in the thick of a wide receiver competition.
"I'm definitely playing a little catch-up missing the spring," Campanaro said. "It's fun being back out here, putting in the work and playing with some of these new receivers. It's a lot of fun."
Campanaro is competing with several players, including Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken, for playing time behind five-time Pro Bowl selection Steve Smith.
He has looked fluid catching passes and catching punts in practice so far and has a good couple of days of practice.
"I'm working my way back into the rotation and getting more reps," Campanaro said. "I'm working my way up the depth chart and making plays. I definitely have to make some plays and contribute on special teams for the team this year."
Campanaro flashed playmaking ability last season, including a touchdown catch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the regular season and caught four passes for 39 yards against the New England Patriots.
"Anytime you get in live action and do well, it's definitely a confidence-builder," said Campanaro, who caught a school-record 229 passes at Wake Forest for 2,506 yards and 14 touchdowns. "It's getting back to the fundamentals out here, grinding on the playbook. I feel good about everything."