Have you ever been relaxing in a sauna, when someone mistakes it for the weight room?
They strut on in and decide this is the place to bang out pushups, do squats, and maybe even some mountain climbers.
They huff and they puff. It’s a show for everyone inside.
Don’t be that guy.
You can actually work out in your sauna and stretch in it. Notice that I said your sauna.
You should not work out in a gym sauna. People are there to relax. You have an entire gym to work out.
However, people like Ben Greenfield can get excellent workouts in saunas. These people are experienced lifters and athletes.
Not your run-of-the-mill, Average Joe.
How to work out in a sauna
The first step is knowing which type of sauna to train in.
You’d be better off with an infrared sauna because the temperature isn’t as high. Infrared sauna temperatures are generally between 110-150°F.
That is much more comfortable than a traditional sauna, which can get over 200°F. I’ve never tried to work out in a 200°F, but that doesn’t sound very fun.
There are some trendy places that offer infrared sauna workout room classes.
I am not saying to bring your squat rack into the sauna. An exercise bike, kettlebells (you may want chalk), or bands would be ideal.
Although if you have an infrared sauna that is big enough to handle a squat rack, that would be awesome.
Exercises to do in a sauna
Ben Greenfield does a number of exercises in the sauna. These range from everything like yoga sun salutations, kettlebell swings, dumbbells, and pushups.
You can do the basic bodyweight exercises that you normally do in a small space.
Bodyweight: Squats, jump squats, lunges, bridges, push-ups, tricep dips, and plenty of ab exercises.
Bands: you can do most bodyweight exercises, and then some, with bands. This is great for added resistance, the ability to use more muscles and do more exercises than just body weight, and is super-easy to travel with.
Kettlebells: Swings, squats, rows, get-ups, etc. You can do snatches and presses if your sauna is tall enough. You’ll probably need chalk.
Cardio: Shadowbox, burpees, jumping jacks, high knees, mountain climbers, etc.
Benefits of sauna workouts
Working out for 20-30 minutes in a sauna is very efficient. You get the benefits of both a 20-30 minute workout and heat stress combined. This could be considered a biohack.
You will increase your ability to perform in the heat, build up your endurance, and sweat a lot, which is important for detoxing.
In sports, your competition is most likely not training in the extreme heat. You want to be strong where your competition is weak.
The heat. The sweat. The fatigue. These are all normal for you. For your competition, this extreme.
Who is more likely to survive in overtime of a playoff game, or the last mile of a race on scolding concrete, the one accustomed to the heat or someone who has never felt this heat before?
Adapting to heat doesn’t just come by working out in a sauna. You get that heat adaptation be relaxing in there too.
The greatest US wrestling champion and coach, Dan Gable, said using a sauna for recovery was one of the key factors in his success.
He used it after practice to recover for the next day.
You get all of the benefits of infrared light therapy, plus a workout. The infrared light penetrates your skin deeper than traditional heat. Thus giving you a deeper sweat.
You can, but should you workout in a sauna?
The purpose of a sauna is not for working out. Sweating more is just one of the MANY benefits of sauna use.
The majority of people should just relax and enjoy the sauna.
Training in a sauna should be done by athletes and fitness enthusiasts, who are frequent sauna users. It’s not recommended to start training in a sauna if you have never been in one.