As part of pre-season training, Gloucestershire’s strength and conditioning coach Bob Smith has looked for new ways to train the team ahead of a busy summer in 2018.
One of the main training methods used has been Hot Yoga.
Take a look at Bob’s Blog for an insight into Gloucestershire’s pre-season:-
For the last five weeks we have been visiting Yogafurie on Ashley Down Road as part of our early pre-season preparation. We have been practicing hot yoga in 35+ degrees, working on aspects of flexibility, balance, strength and control.
There’s no doubt that the work has been challenging but the real benefit for me is in working with Ed, the owner of Yogafurie to target some very specific aspects of yoga that we can capitalise on in our training.
In this article I want to discuss some of those benefits:-
One of the major benefits is obviously flexibility. For any athlete, spending a 90 minute period focussed on flexibility is great. It is crucial for us to address flexibility so that our cricket coaches have the opportunity to coach players into optimal positions both with bat and ball.
It is amazing how Ed’s education in far-eastern practices diverge with some of the most up to date research in sports science.
We are linking repeated stretches of key muscle groups at the same time as developing muscular endurance in key muscle groups to support new ranges of motion.
Ed is an expert communicator, the way he directs a group of 15 boys at once, with minimal possibility to manually readjust their postures, is very impressive and I’ve really enjoyed listening to Ed. His cues to achieve the correct postures, are very impressive.
When in the sessions I’m racking my brain trying to remember how he cues the group to move into the next position. It’s fascinating how our philosophies on movement converges from such different pathways.
In this period of pre-season, we are utilising Ed’s hot yoga studio, (based a short distance from The Brightside Ground) which he sets at 35-42 degrees. It’s a tremendously challenging environment to work in but the boys have battled well.
Hot Yoga is not something that we would pursue later in the pre-season period, due to cricket training resuming the training frequency during the day become much higher up to 3 sessions per day in some cases.
In this period there is a challenge to remain hydrated and fuelled for the next training session. Working with Ed we would ask to do yoga in milder temperatures so as to gain the benefit of the warm room for improvements in flexibility, but not so hot as to dehydrate the lads as much. In the Winter period of the year when we train 1-2 x per day maximum and there is ample opportunity to rehydrate, I am happy to use the heat to provide the players with an intense challenge to provide more diversity in the programme.
Training can become quite monotonous in season as we aim to be as efficient as possible with our Strength and Conditioning work, so the more variety we do at this stage of the training period the better.
Another aspect of yoga (for which I am by no means an expert but can appreciate the benefit) is on the opportunity for psychological and mental skills development in yoga.
Remaining focused for the whole 90 minute, in such a hot environment is very challenging. For our players, this is a unique opportunity to train this aspect of psychological performance. As a yoga expert Ed has been extremely skilled at developing the difficulty of this practice throughout the time that we have spent with him.
On a personal level I have been delighted to work with a fitness professional of Ed’s calibre and learn how our philosophies compliment each other.
It has been tremendous to share our training goals with Ed and for him to be able to use his expertise to solve the same problems from a totally different angle.
I will be recommending Ed to my S&C colleagues around the Bristol sport community.
To find out more information about YogaFurie, please click here.