There is a guy named Wim Hof who runs barefoot on the snow, swims under the ice, and climbs the world’s highest mountains only in shorts. It is for sure interesting but you can say ok, but what does this have to do with BJJ? It turns out that more than can be expected at first glance. This guy is the creator of a special breathing method called Wim Hof method, which, as it turns out, can be used also in BJJ and MMA. That’s why today we’ll take a closer look at this topic.
Who is Wim Hof?
Before we get to the breathing method itself, it’s worth getting to know its creator first. Wim Hof, better known as the “Iceman”, is a Dutch record holder, adventurer, and real daredevil, born in 1959. Wim Hof owes this nickname to his ability to control body temperature and resistance to extreme cold. As a 17-year-old, while passing nearby very cold water covered with a thin layer of ice, he felt the need to jump into it. Wim Hof did as he felt, he undressed and immersed himself in the reins. Since then, he shaped his body and learned to control his mind by running barefoot on the snow, swimming in icy water, and doing other experiments that would give the average person hypothermia. This all made him called the “Iceman”.
His specific lifestyle and extraordinary skills aroused media interest. Which contributed to him breaking the Guinness records. Some of them:
- The longest bath in ice – contact with ice over the entire length of the body from the neck down. Wim Hof did it while wearing only swimming trunks. He broke this record 16 times, until being dethroned in 2014. His last best time was 1 hour 53 minutes and 2 seconds.
- In February 2009, Hof climbed Kilimanjaro Peak in two days, wearing only shorts and shoes. He climbed this peak several times with various groups of people he trained in the following years. In 2018, with a group of 18 amateurs trained in his method, they broke the Guinness record, reaching the peak of Kilimanjaro in 31 hours and 25 minutes.
- On January 26, 2007, Hof set a Guinness Record in a barefoot half marathon on ice and snow, with a time of 2 hours, 16 minutes and 34 seconds.
- On March 16, 2000, Hof set the Guinness World Record for swimming under ice, he swam a distance of 57.5 meters. His record was only beaten in 2013.
If the stuff mentioned above is not impressive enough for you, he also did the things below:
- In September 2009, he ran, without drinking any liquids during the run, a marathon in the Namib Desert.
- In the same year, he completed the marathon behind the Arctic Circle in Finland. At that time, the temperatures reached −20 ° C. Wearing only shorts, Hof finished the race with a time of 5 hours and 25 minutes.
- In 2007 he made an unsuccessful attempt to climb Mount Everest. Wearing shorts and sandals, he climbed to a height of 6700 m a.s.l. Then he had to put on shoes because crampons cannot be attached to sandals. He finished climbing at 7400 m a.s.l. due to the return of a foot injury, he suffered while running barefoot on the Arctic Circle a year earlier.
As he admits, he achieved this, among other things, thanks to a special breathing technique he developed. If this guy can do all of the above-mentioned things thanks to the breathing method, it’s definitely worth learning more about it.
Wim Hof Method
The Wim Hof Method is based on 3 pillars, which include cold therapy, breathing, and commitment, and can be practiced by every healthy individual. According to the “Iceman”, this method got many benefits such as having better sleep, reducing stress levels, and increasing energy. More about individual pillars etc. can be read on the dedicated Wim Hof Method website. While the basic breathing method can be found below.
- Regulated hyperventilation: The initial stage includes 30 cycles of breathing. Each round goes as follows: take a great breath in, completely filling the lungs. Breathe out by calmly releasing the breath, but not forcibly. Repeat this sequence at a steady pace thirty times. According to the “Iceman”, it may lead to tingling feelings or light-headedness.
- Exhalation: After fulfillment of the 30 rounds of controlled hyperventilation, take another deep breath in, and let it out fully. Keep the breath (with lungs empty) for as long as possible.
- Breath-holding: When the great urge to breathe happens, take a whole deep breath in. Retain the breath for around 15 – 20 seconds and let it go. The body may experience a normal head-rush response. Those points may be repeated for 3 following sequences.
Check also Wim Hof tutorial below:
Wim Hof Breathing Method for BJJ and MMA
Many professional athletes incorporate the Wim Hof Method into their sports performance training, as it helps them to train harder and longer, to recover faster, and to create the mindset for pushing boundaries. Benefits of the Wim Hof Method for athletes include faster recovery from physical exertion, heightened focus and mental composure, improved cardiovascular health, increased muscular endurance.
No wonder this method has also gained supporters in the world of BJJ and MMA. Thanks to it you can learn how to control your stress response, improve your well being and health, enhance performance, and speed up the recovery, which all can be really useful in competing in BJJ or MMA. People like Joe Rogan or Alistair Overeem consider Wim Hof to be the authority on breathing and his method as a positive factor for athletic performance. In addition, there are also special Wim Hof Method workshops for BJJ practitioners. In such a workshop you will learn the techniques of Wim Hof Method and how to apply them in your BJJ training.