Kyle Rudolph has had enough of the injuries the past two seasons and believes a change in his offseason routine could be the needed elixir.
But, pillows and blankets? How is that part of the routine?
Rudolph decided that his previous offseason workouts started too early and had him peaking too early, as well, so he made a change. He rested longer after his 2014 season that was marred by two sports hernias, and then he made sure a yoga regimen included more rest.
“It’s a great hour-and-a-half of a nap and relaxing. It’s not like the yoga that I take is the intense, hold-the-position sweat,” Rudolph said. “It’s like pillows and blankets and take a nap. It’s pretty relaxing.”
Yes, he’s serious about that. But he’s also serious in believing that incorporating yoga more often in his offseason routine will help him. He’s done yoga in the past, but this spring and summer he was doing it three times a week instead of one. That lasted for eight to 10 weeks before training camp started and took over his life.
“The theory behind it is the connective tissues – I can do all I want to feel loose and have the muscles loose – but there are so many other things going on in there connective-tissue-wise, tendons, ligaments, all that kind of stuff,” Rudolph said. “The science behind it is when you hold these positions for five to eight minutes you really loosen up the connective tissues as well as the muscles.”
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Rudolph thinks he peaked too early in previous offseasons, feeling his best in organized team activities in May and June but not having that extend into the regular season. This year, he took two months off after a second injury-riddled season. It was the second year in a row he played in only half the games, and he wasn’t right for most of those he played in 2014.
This year, he aims once again to change that. He is convinced the only thing standing between him and realizing his potential is a fully healthy season that has eluded him recently.
It’s not just the yoga. His whole routine has changed and he’s feeling the difference.
“I definitely noticed a difference throughout the offseason program, and since we started training camp I haven’t been able to do as much as I would like to. But really for me I think it was just the whole mentality and schedule that I took this offseason, really shutting things down for almost two months when we were done, all of January into February and letting my body fully recover and fully heal with everything that I had to deal with last year,” he said. “And then setting my schedule to where right now is when I feel the best, not back in June when we were out here practicing for OTAs. I feel like it’s the combination of all those factors together that are putting me in a situation now to have the next four months be when I peak, not over the summer.”
In the only season Rudolph has started all 16 games, in 2012, he had 53 catches for 493 yards and nine touchdowns. Since then, he has started a combined 16 games for 54 catches, 544 yards and five touchdowns.
Last year about this time, Rudolph was heading off to Tennessee for the final preseason game. Like last week’s preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans, Rudolph didn’t play. The difference is this year he could have played feeling healthy. Last year, the signs of his hernias were already cropping up inside of him.
“I was just talking about going to Tennessee this time last year just miserable because I had both sports hernias going on. You fought through every day,” he said. “You took one day at a time and you look at the schedule and what am I going to do today to make sure I get through practice and then I’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow. It’s definitely nice now to be feeling good heading into the season.”