(Everything below is directly copy and pasted from Innerfire: Wim Hof Academy Online)
The Wim Hof Method is similar to Tummo (inner heat) Meditation and Pranayama (yogic breathing). Yet it is something else entirely. While Wim has read a lot of books on yoga and meditation for many years, this technique primordially comes from what he terms ‘cold hard nature’. By subjecting himself to the bitter conditions of nature, he learned to withstand the extreme forces of cold, heat and fear. If you learn this method or technique correctly, it will empower you to do to the same.
The first part is a breathing exercise which can be likened to controlled hyperventilation. This is, of course, an oxymoron. Hyperventilation is something which happens involuntarily. But just imagine the breathing part, without any of stress triggers that normally cause this way of breathing. The image will consist of rapid breathing that makes one languid, invigorates one, makes one high on oxygen.
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Warning important message, read carefully: Always do the breathing exercise in a safe environment (e.g. sitting on a couch/floor) and unforced. Never practice it before or during diving, driving, swimming, taking a bath or any other environment/place where it might be dangerous to faint. The breathing exercise has a profound effect and should be practiced in the way it is explained. The cold is a strong force. We strongly advise you to gradually build up exposing yourself to the cold. Always train without force and listen to your body carefully. If not practiced responsible, you risk hypothermia or an after drop. If you have health issues, please always consult a doctor first before practicing.
Step by step explanation breathing exercise.
1) Get comfortable
Sit in a meditation posture, whatever is most comfortable for you. Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction. It is recommended to do this practice right after waking up since your stomach is still empty or before a meal.
2) 30 Power Breaths
Imagine you’re blowing up a balloon. Inhale through the nose or mouth and exhale through the mouth in short but powerful bursts. Keep a steady pace and use your midriff fully. Close your eyes and do this around 30 times. Symptoms could be light-headedness, tingling sensations in the body.
3) The Hold, retention after exhalation
After the 30 rapid successions of breath cycles, draw the breath in once more and fill the lungs to maximum capacity without using any force. Then let the air out and hold for as long as you can without force. Hold the breath until you experience the gasp reflex.
4) Recovery Breath
Inhale to full capacity. Feel your chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 10 seconds and this will be round one. The breathing exercise can be repeated 3 rounds after each other.
5) After having completed the breathing exercise take your time to enjoy the feeling afterward. This feeling will be more and more like a meditation.
When you start doing these exercises we recommend to take your time recovering from the breathing exercise. After doing the breathing exercise and you feel good, you can start with taking the cold shower.
– +-30 times balloon blowing
– Breathe in fully
– Breath out without force and hold until gasp reflex
– Inhale fully and hold for 10 seconds.
– Repeat until finished and recover from the breathing exercise
If we’re honoring the principles/beliefs that:
- everything in the body is connected
- all injuries are caused by the body’s inability to absorb force
- an injury can “end” in a different area than it “starts”
…then it’s fair to say that a training/movement program that build a huge foundation of strength in/around the following three areas should be requisite of every training program:
- Feet/Lower Leg
- Shoulder Blades
From observation, trial and error, research, and testing out theories, it is my opinion that the best thing you could possibly do to honor your body is to take care of these areas before moving onto anything more “complex”, “advanced”, or “sport-specific”. If we really want to allow ourselves to function/perform safely and do the things that we enjoy for a long period of time, whether that’s taking walks, picking up your grandkids, making love, or playing a sport, then we have to put in the necessary work to do so safely (if we don’t already have a foundation). Maximal strength is very different than strength-endurance when it comes to moving safely (see “Types of Strength” post). With that said, training just your shoulders for a shoulder injury, or just hips for a hip injury, is a very inductive approach, which usually makes you miss the big picture when deducing from a general principle down to a specific (i.e. injury starts from body’s inability to absorb force, and a specific shoulder injury could start in the feet/hips, an elbow injury in the shoulder/hips, hand injury in the cervical spine, etc.)
My personal opinion is to go all in and find a program (similar to the Training Foundation: Beginner) to begin with. I don’t recommend just doing one or two movements, but I suppose that’s better than nothing at all and is a good starting point… and since there’s really no right or wrong, why not?
Below is a list of some sample movements that you mess around with. General rule of thumb is 3-5 minutes straight of each hold or 150-300 reps of each unweighted movement.
- Calf Jumps
- Standing Straight Leg Raise Hold
- Hip Circles
- Lunge Hold
- 1-Leg Squat Hold
- 1-Leg Calf Raise Hold (Top Position)
- 1-Leg Calf Raise (Reps)
- Front Delt Raise Hold
- Lateral Delt Raise Hold
- Statue of Liberty’s
- Push Up (Bottom Position) Hold
- Push Up (Top Position) Hold
- Dip Shrug Hold
- Barbell Curl Hold
- Scapular Pull Up Hold
- Cross-Crawl (CC) Supermans
- Shake Downs
Note: If you noticed a lot of cross-over between different categories, refer to the first bullet point in the first list 😉 Never isolate.