Wim Hof Method: Week 1

Note: This is the second article in a multi-part series of my personal experience doing the Wim Hoff method. You can find part 1 here.

After my in-person Wim How experience, I was excited to get started on the 10 week training program. This program consists of 10 main videos (1 per week) plus some supplementary content (why cold showers are beneficial, quick exercises, etc.). The video lengths vary but average 30 minutes.

In the first week you follow along with Wim through the standard breathing exercises (4 sets). I have recorded each set and my retention length (the amount of time I went without air in my lungs after each set). You can see the results of my breathing exercises below:

I found it interesting that there was not a clear improvement in my rententions over time. However, I noticed that the breathing exercises became significantly easier and with less tingling / cramping than what I experienced in my first session at Evergreen Brickworks.

After the breathing exercises, Wim walks you through a number of stretches (with the Wim Hof method twist — described further). The first is the forward bend. Each leg is done independently for about 45 seconds of stretching.

Forward bend. My personal goal is to get flexible enough to touch my face to my knees.

The ‘Cobra’ or back-bend follows, again for about 45 seconds to 1 minute.

Cobra / back bend. Great for people who sit at desks all day.

Child pose follows.

Child pose, stretching out the lower back. A good counter position from Cobra.

For the second last excercise, Wim has you doing the ‘plank’ for over a minute.

Plank.

Lastly, the ‘bicycle’ ab workout is done for ~1 minute. Deep, consistent breathing is coached during the excercise.

Bicycle excercise.

Wim’s stretching method

Like all things Wim Hoff, the secret is in how you breathe while stretching. According to the videos, following this technique can increase the blood flow to the muscles you are stretching and help you achieve better results than without. While stretching, Wim instructs you to take a deep breath in, focus on the area of tension / stretch, hold the breath for 5 to take seconds, and ‘let go’ of your breath while pushing deeper.

Thoughts so far

I can’t compare the effectiveness of this method of stretching vs. regular, but I did feel that I could go deeper on the ‘letting go’ aspect of the breath than if I was not doing it. I also noticed a markable improvement in my flexibility (most noticeable on the forward bend) over the first week, and my performance improvement on the plank was considerable. I would be near collapse at the end of the plank on day 1, and could easily go into extra time by day 7 without much struggle. Same applies for the ab workout.

During and after the workouts I took some minor notes regarding the difficult of the exercises or ‘side effects’ of the breathing exercises, found below.

Notes from Week 1

I am keeping track of all of my metrics on this Google Sheet. As of writing I am 3 days into Week 4, so you can get a ‘sneak peak’ of my future weeks there :) I have left it open for commenting as well, so if you have questions feel free to leave them there (or shoot me an email).