Hot yoga becoming a cool thing for high school wrestlers in Illinois

By Sandy Stevens

Some Illinois high school wrestlers are using a novel way to turn up the heat on their opponents.

Beyond the sweat of the workout room, wrestlers at Glenbard West High School, Glen Ellyn, have upped temperature and technique by integrating sessions of hot yoga into their training.
A 90-minute hot or Bikram yoga session typically features 26 postures and two breathing exercises in a room set at 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity. Senior 145-pounder Jack Carlson, who just scored his first trip to the Illinois state championships, says this combination offers a multitude of advantages.
“It probably benefits most a wrestler who cuts a lot,” he said. “It’s like doing something active in a sauna. Your pores just open so quickly. You can drink a lot of fluids but still retain nutrients.
“For someone who goes often, it’s good for the heart and muscles because it’s a really good stretch. It can be a cardio workout, too. (Instructors) focus a lot on the breathing.”
Increased suppleness is another plus.
“You can really see yourself getting better,” Jack said. “You can go further each time, so you see yourself getting more flexible.”
Jack credits West assistant coach Pat McCloskey for “his enthusiasm and willingness” to get people involved in and excited about the new regimen. In turn, McCloskey, a 1992 Glenbard West graduate, cites his longtime friend and former West state place-finisher Dave Udchik for urging him to try the discipline.
“I knew nothing about it, but I knew he’s a huge guy and extremely flexible,” McCloskey said, noting that Udchik also praised hot yoga for the mental challenge. “With wrestlers, it’s a change in routine, a different kind of training than just the grind of practice.”

(The rest of this story can be found in the Feb. 29 issue of Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine. Click on “Subscribe to WIN” to receive 12 issues in a calendar year for $29.95 … or call the WIN office at 1-888-305-0606.)

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