Minnesota Embraces Yoga to Increase Strength and Flexibility

By DJ Byrnes on June 28, 2014 at 6:00a

Jerry Kill has put some steel in the backs of his Golden Gophers, and the wily veteran coach isn't above changing up his team's regimen to get an edge.

While Yoga might not seem like a traditional football-related activity, it's long held value in the fitness community as a way to increase strength and flexibility.

Consider Kill a believer.

From ESPN:

Show up at the University of Minnesota's Gibson-Nagurski football complex on a Thursday morning, and you'll see something possibly unprecedented in nature: a 300-pound Gopher in a downward facing dog. 

Minnesota has incorporated a weekly teamwide yoga session into its summer conditioning program. It would give new meaning to the term mat drills if the players actually used yoga mats. Instead, they strike their poses right there on the turf of their indoor facility, sometimes using their T-shirts as a cushion. 


"We were all kind of excited because we thought we'd be getting out of conditioning and running," [Senior offensive lineman Tommy] Olson said. "But it turns out that in yoga, you've actually got to do some tough poses, and you've got to have some strength, too." 

You might laugh at the unorthodox training, but anybody who has ever attempted Yoga will be able to tell you: It's tough. 


Comments Show All Comments

sharks's picture

Hatin ass Sharks hates him some Lebron, but I heard that he's been a yoga practitioner for many years and credits his flexibility and durability to it.  Hard to argue with his results, so not a bad idea from Coach Kill, the most likeable guy in college football.

A man got to have a code...

+2 HS
AndyVance's picture

Love me some Jerry Kill - Sharks is right, he's easily the most likable man in college football. Plus, the idea of seeing a starting offensive line mastering "downward-facing dog" makes me chuckle. 

+2 HS
BHT's picture

Agreed. I have always liked Jerry Kill. I am not sure what is not to like about him.  He is a good coach.

Poison nuts's picture

I used to do some Bikram's yoga....that's tough! Get those guys trying that & it would just about all the conditioning you could handle.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Riggins's picture

Yoga? AKA Advanced Stretching? They better not be asking for water breaks.


+1 HS
allinosu's picture

Did they mean Yoda? The force is getting stronger up there.

Patriot4098's picture

Yoga is tough. I've seen people at the pool do yoga on surfboards too. That's gotta' be a heck of a core workout.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

Unky Buck's picture

Yoga is no joke. There isn't a workout (maybe minus running outside with a high dew point and high humidity) that makes me sweat more than that. Plus if they're doing yoga stretches, they'll be working out a lot of those little day to day kinks that come up rather easily.

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

J Kill is a good man - I really like his personality and as long as they stay far away from this crap they are going to be just fine.


johnblairgobucks's picture

Guy looks like LeBron James with long hair.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

I'm all for the yoga bits...and hopefully, there will be a lot of "downward facing dogs" when the Minnesota offensive line meets the Ohio State defensive line, eh?

I like cookies.

DaveStephens's picture

I get it!

The Dude abides.

MN Buckeye's picture

Yoga in MN? Ooooh ya, you betcha!