BATON ROUGE -- The LSU football team has added a new twist to its strength and conditioning routine this summer as the Tigers, for the first time, are doing yogalates as an entire team on Wednesday nights.
The addition of yogalates to LSU’s summer workout schedule, gives the Tiger football team one of the most unique offseason strength and conditioning programs around. Six years ago, LSU incorporated karate into its offseason regiment and the results were immediate.
Yogalates, a combination of the disciplines of yoga and pilates, is held each Wednesday night during the summer at the LSU Indoor Facility. The Tigers, under the direction of yogalates instructor Don Yesso and strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt, go through a 60-minute workout each week. In all, the Tigers will be put through a 12-week yogalates program leading up to August practice.
“This is a great change of training regiment for our football team,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “Everybody is looking for the edge and one of the ways to gain an edge is changing up your training routine for your team and yogalates gives us that. The team is enjoying the different training methods that we have implemented and a result, they are getting more out of what we are doing this summer.”
The yogalates workout is intense and one that rarely has the players taking a break. It features a great deal of stretching as well as body movements that usually aren’t associated with football.
“It’s a total body workout,” Yesso said. “With yogalates, we try to find a combination between flexibility and strength. We are constantly changing and doing different types of movements. Each week it’s a different routine so we are continually working the body in various ways.”
One advantage of yogalates, as well as that of karate, is the increased range of motion the players develop by going through the exercise, which something that many people translate into fewer injuries on the field.
“The range of motion for the players has increased dramatically since we first started earlier this summer,” Yesso said. “When you increase your range of motion, you are able to reduce the risk of injury and that is one of the benefits of this program.”
Yesso also said that his yogalates program focuses in strengthening and stretching the hip flexors.
“Football is about speed and one way to enhance your speed is to increase your stride length. We work on the hip flexors with a series of exercises to stretch the hip flexors and to strengthen them as well. This should relate to increased speed on the football field.”
While the players may have been hesitant on the whole yogalates routine at first, they have now bought into the workout and they are reaping the benefits from it.
“It’s been very helpful,” LSU All-America defensive back LaRon Landry said. “I’m not very flexible, but I can already tell the difference. It’s a workout that focuses on the entire body. It works out muscles that you didn’t even know you had. ”
Quarterback Matt Flynn agrees.
“It’s a different type of workout for our muscles,” he said. “It’s tough, but it’s been really good for our flexibility.”
Yogalates isn’t just for the skill players on the squad as the offensive and defensive linemen are taking part in the workout, including defensive end Chase Pittman.
“I like it,” Pittman said. “The first time I was exhausted and had a hard time just finishing the workout, but now I’ve got it down.
“It’s been good for the team as a bonding experience as well as helping each person individually.”