TU Players Attempt To Limber Up With Yoga
TULSA, Oklahoma - When you think about off-season training for college football teams, big, burly guys slamming weights or running sprints might come to mind. But that's not always the whole story.
The University of Tulsa is trying to find a deeper meaning to summer workouts.
Yoga: the ancient art of relaxation and finding your inner peace.
"It's a lot of body movements I didn't even know the body could do," said TU offensive lineman Stetson Burnett.
On a sweaty summer day, the Tulsa football team was stretching out its workout program.
"We're just trying to get more flexible," Burnett said. "Being more flexible makes you a better athlete, you can change directions faster, and also just kind of help keep the muscles loosened up so you aren't so bound up and tight."
There was some laughter at first.
"I'm guilty of thinking that yoga was a joke," said TU quarterback Cody Green.
But it is working. This is just TU's third class, and the team is already seeing results.
"The athletes will tell you that they move more fluidly. They feel more free when they move," said strength coach Adam Davis. "They don't have to force the movement, they can just do it naturally. That alone is what we're looking for."
"I know NFL guys that take ballet, because they need them to be more nimble on their toes," Green said. "It's no secret, whenever you get into higher level ball, people find their little secret way of doing things. This could be ours, but it's no secret between NFL and Division 1, guys are doing stuff that gets them out of their comfort zone all the time."
Pushing the comfort zone is instructor Juli Kleman's job. She designs the class for athletes, knowing just how hard to push.
"Sometimes your body's not supposed to bend the way that she wants us to go, but she forces us to do it. I was just talking to some of the linemen, and it's amazing how a 100-pound little woman can make 300-pound men want to cry. And she does it," Green said.
So next time you see a yoga class at a park near you, don't laugh. Those same uncomfortable-looking poses might just be helping your favorite football team.