Hartlepool United footballers have been following in the footsteps of players like former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs.
Players at the club have embraced hot yoga - attending classes at Atom Health and Fitness Club in Wynyard to help improve flexibility, balance and strength.
Ryan Giggs attributed this style of yoga - performed in hot and humid conditions - to his lack of injuries in the later years of his career.
Pools’ strength and conditioning coach, Stuart Parnaby, said: “My approach is to try and ensure that the team are introduced to all of the best conditioning methods available.
“I was keen to see how they would respond to hot yoga and it’s been a really positive addition to their routine, something that I think can help improve muscular imbalances and inflexibilities.”
Atom has seen significant growth since it opened the area’s first hot yoga studio alongside the gym two-and-a-half years ago.
It has put on specialist classes for the footballers and is in talks with another semi-professional club.
Gym owner and personal trainer Phil Lamb said: “An increasing number of professional clubs use Pilates and hot yoga for conditioning because they are great for mobility, flexibility and strength.
“I think coaches see significant benefits in these alternative practices to achieve maximum performance from their players.”
Atom Health and Fitness specialises in yoga and has brought in new instructors and expanded its class timetable to include Ashtanga yoga and mindfulness, as membership continues to grow to near-capacity.
It employs eight members of staff and is looking to recruit a new apprentice soon.
“Staff levels will go into double figures before long and we want to employ another apprentice to develop in health and fitness to become a qualified personal trainer in time,” said Mr Lamb.