Minnesota Embraces Yoga to Increase Strength and Flexibility

By D.J. Byrnes on June 28, 2014 at 6:00 am

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. 

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