Recovery methods employed after heavy exercise. (2/2)
By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A. CSCS
Continued from last week
Let us briefly discuss a few of these and the way in which they are applied during the recovery process. Use these various modalities between sets or between days of training. Experiment until you have found the ones that work best for you.
Use of the various means of recovery should be included as a part of the over all design package of your work out plan. You will find some that fit you very well, just as some exercise seem to be tailor made especially for you. However, keep varying the different modalities, as your body will soon accustom itself to those, which are applied most frequently. The benefits will diminish if they are over used. The bottom line on the issue is this: just as you change your exercise selections around each training day so must you change your recovery modes around.
The most intensive recovery methods are utilized after the heaviest workouts. Apply the recovery modes not just directly after the workout, but later in the day after your body has adjusted to the stress of the training session. Wait at least three hours before starting the recovery process. If you wait 6-9 hours, the recovery is made much more effective and will raise the work capacity higher the next day.
- Tempo runs are difficult 20-30 minute runs performed at the lactate threshold level, at or slightly above a race pace. However, they are only done once or twice per week.
- Active rest/cross training is believed to reduce the likelihood of incurring overuse injuries by different muscle groups from those used during the regular sport or activity. The intensity and duration of the selected activity must be equal to that of which it is replacing. Cardiovascular and muscular systems both benefit from a well designed cross training program.
- EMS-(Electrical Muscle Stimulation) machines force the muscles to contract. Electrical current is switched on and off for set amounts of time per cycle. The constant contracting/relaxing of the muscles helps to move nutrients into and remove waste out of the muscles.
- Static stretching is a slow and constant stretch with the end position held for 20-30 seconds. Bear in mind the stretches should not hurt. Go only to the point of mild discomfort then stop the stretch at that position.
- Nutritional strategies Follow the revised food pyramid recently published by the Federal Government. There is no known need to ingest an excessive amount of protein.
- Periodization. Wave your workouts from month to month, week to week and day to day. Vary consistently the loads, duration and frequency of your activity. Give yourself a chance to rest and build back up. The body does not build during the exercise but only during the rest periods afterwards. This is the area most young athletes falter, they believe that if a little bit of exercise is good then a lot more is better. Not so.
Notice, I did not say use every one of these methods after or during every session. These are just a very few of the restorative means and methods that are used in the Strength and Conditioning sports arena.
Resources include Essential of Strength Training and Conditioning by Baechle and Earle and Science of Sports Training by Thomas Kurtz