To achieve their physical and mental peak, pro athletes use a lot of strange methods. Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is the latest player to think outside of the box as he experiences the grind of an entire NFL season. Could this be what’s helping him perform so well?
Christian McCaffrey uses the Gyrostim
Christian McCaffrey utilized the GyroStim system. According to its website, GyroStim helps people perceive, process, and react to the world around them. It does this by securing its users inside a $200,000 chamber that looks more like a carnival ride than a form of mental therapy.
Patients then use a laser to point at a series of targets as the GyroStim spins them around. In doing so, GyroStim not only measures but improves the brain’s ability to see a situation and react as quickly as possible. It’s not only used by athletes, but its benefits make sense in a profession that relies on making decisions in a split second. According to its website, GyroStim helps:
- Reaction time/reflexes
- Hand-eye coordination
- Situational and spatial awareness
- Balance and coordination
- Concussion recovery
- Dynamic visual acuity
- Mental acuity
- Object tracking
- Peripheral awareness
Perhaps this is why McCaffrey is sold on the Gyrostim’s advantages.
McCaffrey’s trains for a breakout season
McCaffrey went to NeuraPerformance Brain Center in Denver, Colorado to use the GyroStim system and help his brain as he entered another season, reports TMZ Sports. His sessions lasted 30-45 minutes and had the running back tossing, turning, and twisting at the highest velocities. Shawn Caldwell, who works at the clinic, said the machine is McCaffrey’s secret weapon.
The 23-year-old’s sophomore campaign was a marked improvement over his rookie one. Not only did he rush for over 1,000 yards in the season, but he ran for seven touchdowns in the process. McCaffrey also recorded 107 receptions for 867 receiving yards and six more touchdowns. It put the league on notice, but what he’s doing this year is on another level.
Through six games, McCaffrey already has 600 yards and seven rushing touchdowns, 35 receptions for 305 yards, and two more receiving touchdowns. He is on pace to shatter last season’s numbers, and GyroStim may be the reason he does so with ease. If it catches on with other NFL players, though, it will be the latest in a series of innovations that athletes swear by.
NFL players’ other strange training methods
Another odd training method made headlines for the wrong reasons during 2019 NFL training camp. Amidst all of the other drama, Antonio Brown got frostbite after wearing improper footwear in a cryotherapy chamber. Despite this snafu, many other athletes swear by cryotherapy, including LeBron James and Usain Bolt.
Other athletes, like legendary Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, use an altitude chamber to train. It entails little more than sleep, but it helps players adjust to competing in high-altitude environments where oxygen is scarcer and additional workouts are draining.
Virtual reality is helping athletes train, too. For Olympic skiers like Lindsey Vonn and Laurenne Ross, VR has helped them get out on the slopes without leaving the indoors. It proves especially handy for those recovering from injuries like Ross’s ACL tear. Athletes can improve their reaction time as they prepare for a big event.