Have you ever been stuck or plateau in your performance at races and events and don’t know how to improve? Under Armour’s Power Couple Hansen Lee and Robyn Lau will let you in on the secret to using yoga and movement to improve athletic performance. You’ll be an ace in your next race!
ToughAsia (TA): How did you fall in love with yoga?
Hansen: Robyn started praticising yoga earlier than I did.
Robyn: When you have a partner with similar passion, it’s so much easier as you motivate each other, you push and remind each other. I really got into practising Yoga as a philosophy when we started dating.
Initially, yoga was a mother-daughter bonding session for me as a child. When the poses started getting more challenging, I got more interested in doing all sorts of Yoga like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, also Pilates and started building arm strength and core strength.
Yoga helps alleviate pain and discomfort
Hansen: I was on my own path 5 years ago due to my back injury. My Chiropractor recommended that I start doing yoga. I did, and it helped alleviate the pain and reduce the discomfort. Yoga helps lengthen your spine, so the compression on the nerves eases off and you will feel less pain.
Yoga keeps your spine healthy and in limbo, also reduces all the tightness in your body.
TA: So how do you pass on the benefits of Yoga to other guys? Men usually oppose the idea.
Hansen: I totally understand as I came from that ‘Muscle Head’ background and had been lifting weights for 20 years. I think it really comes to a point, where you start looking into how your body feels, or how you feel in your body.
Ido Portal calls that the ‘Non-existent Lat syndrome’ where guys walk as though they have major lattisimum muscles (aka chicken wing), but they don’t.
You can’t feel good about being tightly bounded up, although you look in the mirror and admire your bulging muscles.I know guys who can’t scratch their backs because they’re so huge, nor touch their toes.
|To encourage people to get into Yoga, start with breathing exercises. Get in touch with your breathing and you can change the state of your well-being. Personally, the breathing work is more important than the muscle work.|
TA: What do you recommend to improve performance in endurance sports athletes involved in CrossFit, Obstacle Racing and Triathlon?
Hansen: I would use recommend Mobility workouts. Everyone could be a little bit more mobile. Yoga can help improve your mobility, your back and shoulders could be less tight, you could have more open hips and everyone would be more open to that.
TA: What other workouts do you delve in?
Hansen: I swim and wall climb, but I’ve been dedicating a lot of my time to movement. So I’ve been crawling, doing more ring work, strength work with weights.
TA: What’s your favourite Under Armour apparel for yoga?
Robyn: The Under Armour sports bra has amazing colours while the Studio range is very comfortable and soft, so I’m in my workout attire almost all the time. Even when I’m not working out, I choose to wear my workout attire and also when I’m travelling.
The CoolSwitch range is really good as I teach Hot Yoga, we sweat profusely in the class. If you’re wearing the wrong attire, you feel like your stinking and sweaty clothes are sticking to you, especially in our hot weather.
Hansen: For the guys, the Under Armour training gear is really good and anything featuring the 4-way stretch material is good. Cotton is my preferred choice, but these days there’s a cotton-mix to absorb the sweat.
TA: Do you work or teach in tandem with Robyn?
Hansen: Robyn only started teaching recently although she’s been practicing a long time, so we’re working towards that. We want to do more co-teaching and she’s better at certain poses. My strong points would be poses involving arm balances and inversions.
Get moving with Armour in the Park
For Under Armour’s Armour in the Park, I’m running Movement classes which is something I’ve been exploring in the last 2 years.
I really want to get the message out and get people to move better and have an alternative viewpoint on fitness. Basically revisiting a lot of things we used to do but we don’t anymore like squatting and hanging.
Robyn: As kids we used to do it all the time when we were playing outside.
Mobility workouts enhance athletic performance
Hansen: I want to invite everyone to re-look and assess their everyday movements, the positions you put yourself into in your daily life, that cultivates your health in your old age.
If parents live an active lifestyle, their kids will do that too as they are having fun. Communication and physical contact opens up a new dimension and reconnects you with your youth.
We’ll be holding this in a playground, how can you not reconnect with your inner child, right? We are holding these classes every fortnight in Jalan Bangkung, Bangsar.
I’ve been following Ido Portal who looks into each discipline and the benefits of movement and each discipline. As long as you try to do it, you will gain the benefits.
In my line of work, I see kids as young as 12 having scoliosis, not due to genetics but from lifestyle, from the posture they put themselves in the entire day.
Children who sit and stare at the iPad most of the time, are so weak in their hamstrings and glutes, they can’t even stand properly. I’m actually concerned where this new generation is heading.