Anyone who takes an interest in sports in or around the Middle East knows that getting to the top and staying there is not easy. Making it as a professional athlete in any discipline takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. It also means that you have to spend a lot of time training to not only stay sharp but also to improve your conditioning/skillset. While there are some common training techniques in all sports, some athletes choose to step outside of these at times. But what are some of the more unusual examples of this?
There is no doubt that the NFL is very popular all around the world and that it is fast gaining traction in the Middle East too. This is mainly due to the awesome action in NFL games and the big-name players/franchises that call it home. It is also a great league for betting on and this has helped it to attract more followers over time. Finding the latest NFL lines, for example, is very easy to do online and there are also plenty of safe, secure sportsbooks to bet on matches with now.
When it comes to famous players in NFL history, Lynn Swann is one that stands out. It is reported that he used to include ballet workouts in his training regime! Swann claimed that the ballet lessons helped him to develop more agility, flexibility, and better movement on the football field.
LeBron James is currently one of the most well-known NBA athletes and has an army of loyal fans. When you consider his elite-level dribbling, shooting, and passing skills, that is no surprise!
However, LeBron James fans might not know that he uses an unusual training practice called cryotherapy to stay sharp between games. This is a treatment that uses freezing cold air to boost anti-inflammatory proteins in the body and it also stimulates the natural healing process.
Michael Phelps⎯altitude chamber
While whole sports can sometimes see eye-catching techniques employed (such as FIFA’s use of new tech in the 2022 World Cup), it is often individual athletes who come up with surprising specific training ideas.
Although using an altitude chamber is not exclusive to swimmer Michael Phelps, he was perhaps the most well-known exponent of this unusual training aid. As a multiple gold medal athlete, it was obviously working well for him.
But what are altitude chambers exactly? In short, they are sealed chambers that condition the body to live at higher altitudes. This is said to help the body to produce more red blood cells and give endurance a boost. To get the maximum benefit from this, Phelps is reported to have slept in it when still competing.
Frank Shamrock⎯Swiss ball
MMA is a massive sport in the Middle East and anyone who competes in it must be in top shape. Now-retired former UFC Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock certainly invested heavily in his training and was famous for an unusual technique involving a Swiss ball.
To help him simulate fighting on the ground, Shamrock used to roll around by himself on a Swiss ball, trying to stay on top of it at all times. If you have ever used one of these inflatable balls in the gym, you’ll know that this is tricky. This proved a valuable training aid for Shamrock because it effectively simulated the feel of rolling about with a real-life opponent on the floor.
Steph Curry⎯strobe light glasses
Steph Curry is already known as one of the greatest basketball players ever and has had an awesome career in the NBA so far. Although much of this is down to natural talent, there is no doubt about it that his hard work in training has also helped him to develop the insane skills he is famous for.
While this might have included some fairly standard methods, his use of strobe light glasses is a little more out there. This was actually something first made famous by NBA great Michael Jordan but has since been picked up by modern players. The flashes of light that these glasses give out when worn, help simulate the flashing light of cameras and thus, improve the wearer’s ability to not get distracted by them in games.
Unusual training techniques that are common in sports
All elite-level sportspeople are not only constantly trying to get better but also to gain an edge over their opponents. For this reason, they are always looking out for training methods that other people are not using or which can give them gains in performance. As the above shows, there have certainly already been some interesting ways to go about this in sports.