In addition to working with Dr. Mike the last couple of months, I’ve also added two other forms of recovery to my training program- Hot Yoga and massage.
Both were first used by my wife, Laura, but I’ve since followed in her footsteps and have really seen the benefits.
I started doing Hot Yoga between 2 and 3 months ago and enjoyed it from my first session.
There’s something to be said about a workout where you can lose up to 6 pounds and leave feeling loose and refreshed.
While I’ve always been fairly flexible and have had good mobility, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement from the Hot Yoga, especially in my lower body.
Not only is my flexibility better, but my balance and stability from the standing postures have both improved as well.
In addition, I was really impressed at the knowledge the instructors had about the muscles and how to adjust your postures to target different areas.
There was really quite a bit of science and a great understanding of biomechanics behind it. Being an exercise science geek, I thought the whole thing was very impressive.
One of the things I discovered recently that has really helped me is the emphasis the instructors place on each session being your own unique Yoga practice.
What they mean is that if there are certain positions you like and simply want to hold them, then you should feel free to do so. If you get fatigued and need to rest, do so. No one gets on your case if you’re not following exactly what the instructor is teaching. It’s very different from wrestling.
What I like about this approach is that because I use it as a recovery session, I prefer to hold the stretches longer rather than go through the “flows” with the rest of the class. On top of that, it’s the one time during the week that I can take an extended period to devote to my stretching.
Yes, I do a little here and there, but most of the time it’s just light dynamic stretching before a workout and a couple of quick static stretches after. So to be able to set aside time to focus on flexibility and balance (two things that I do not put a lot of focus on) has proven to be beneficial.
In addition to being a nice time to promote recovery, Hot Yoga has improved my MMA performance in several ways. First, I can kick anywhere I want now. On top of that, I’m generating a lot more power (according to the guys who hold Thai pads for me) with my higher kicks.
From a grappling standpoint, I’m able to get into a lot of different positions now and flow between them much smoother. Not only has it opened up windows for me on the ground, but it’s also improved my ability to resist certain submissions.
Finally, from a general injury prevention standpoint, I would highly suggest it.
A few weeks ago I was wrestling with a D1 wrestler who has about 40 pounds on me. During a scramble, I ended up under him in a weird lunge position.
It’s hard to explain, but ultimately what happened was I ended up putting my body down to my thigh about as quickly as it could happen. Had I not been as flexible, I am certain I would have torn my hamstring to shreds.
Anyway, here’s a pretty informative video I found on Bikram Yoga. I’m pretty sure Bikram is a specific style of Hot Yoga and the place I go to is not a Bikram studio. I don’t really know the difference.
Please keep in mind that if you’re looking to try Hot Yoga you should first check into state and or national regulations on wrestlers being in rooms above a certain temperature. I’m pretty sure the NCAA has a rule on this, so there may be similar rules for high school wrestlers. Be safe, check with your coach before you start.
Check out the “Standing Head to Knee” at about 5:00 in. I’ve been working on that and can almost get my head to my knee now! This is one that my old buddy Nick (I’ve know this guy since I was 3 or 4) has apparently been working on, too.
We actually had a conversation about Hot Yoga and our experiences with it during lunch a few weeks ago. It was great to hear that he’s doing this, too. We even set up a competition to see who can master this pose first.