by PJ Nestler
One of the most commonly overlooked parts of training is recovery. Overtraining is a major problem in combat sports and can lead to decreased performance, fatigue, irritability, illness, and is a significant contributing factor to injury. Having a strategic recovery plan is another essential piece performing at your best each day and decreasing your risk for injury.
Below I have outlined a few simple recovery methods that you can (AND SHOULD) be using on your own.
A very simple and effective way to improve recovery. SMR techniques with a foam roller, tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or other implement helps to release knots created in damaged muscles. This release will improve blood blow which is essential to bring the nutrients to your muscles necessary to repair damaged tissue.
Put pressure onto the sore muscles and slowly roll up and down anywhere from 8-20 times. Spend extra time on tight and sore muscle groups. This can be done every day at any time but particularly before/after training as well as upon waking up and before bed
- Active and passive stretching are good ways to improve flexibility and increase blood flow to sore muscles
- This can be done on your own or with a partner
- Focus on relaxing and deep, slow breathing as you hold each stretch for 60-90 seconds
- (8-12 deep breaths) and repeat 2-3 times
Cold Therapy (Ice bath, cold pool):
- Can be done sitting in an ice bath, or in the winter time in Socal climates, floating or walking around in an unheated pool will suffice
- Fill a bath tub or ice bath with cold water and add a few bags of ice to bring water temperatures between 50-55 degrees. Sit or float in the tub completely submerging up to your neck. If you are not comfortable submerging your torso you can just submerge your legs for lower body recovery.
- Ice bath should last approximately 6-12 minutes
- This strategy uses both a hot bath/pool and a cold bath/pool
- Sit or walk in a cold pool for 1-2 minutes then immediately into a hot tub for 3-4 minutes
- Repeat this for 4 rounds finishing in the hot tub
- Should be done after your last training session of the day or before bed
- A second version of contrast therapy just using your shower
- Stand in the shower under the coldest water for 15 seconds
- Stand under hot water (not too hot!) for 60 seconds
- Repeat for 5-8 rounds
- At night finish on 4 minutes of hot water. In the morning finish on a cold blast
Epsom Salt Bath:
Helps to ease pain and inflammation and replaces magnesium in the body which helps calm and relaxation
Fill a hot bath tub and add 2-4 cups of Epsom salt. Soak for 20-30 minutes
An excellent option for stretching and recovery as it not only helps facilitate flexibility with structured classes and poses but also focuses on breathing and relaxation techniques that are crucial for total body regeneration
- It is essential to get your optimal levels of macronutrients in your diet daily and around training sessions for peak performance and needed recovery
- If your protein intake is too low your muscles will not rebuild from intense strength training sessions, and if your carbohydrate intake is too low you will not have the energy for multiple training sessions
- Be sure to stay hydrated before, during, and after training sessions and throughout the day to allow proper muscle function and to aid in recovery
Remember that during intense training sessions you are breaking down your body tissues and creating micro trauma. This trauma signals the body to respond with essential nutrients to rebuild tissues stronger than before to sustain the next bout of intense training. THIS ALL HAPPENS ONLY DURING YOUR REST AND RECOVERY! Therefore if you are not recovering properly and using that rest time to get better, you will constantly be breaking your body down without ever building back up to full strength. That is when overtraining, performance decrease, and injury occur. See Coach PJ for help creating an optimal training and recovery plan to maximize your performance and keep you at the top of your game!