270317 Recovery methods employed after heavy exercise.
By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A.CSCS*D
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.
- Sleep is essential and having 7-9 hours increases the recovery rate by lowering the cortisol secretions. Growth hormones are secreted during the sleep periods but only nighttime sleep decreases cortisol and increases growth hormone secretions.
- Music with agreeable harmonies and with few changes in tempo has a tendency to calm, relax muscles and relieve anxiety, reduces the resistance in the respiratory tract and deepens the breath. After the heaviest work out, listening to this music for about thirty minutes before going to sleep is quite effective. During exercise, listening to music at about 40 decibels improves the mood and can be invigorating.
- Vibro massage and the regular massages afford the muscles, connective tissues and the nutrient feeding mechanisms the ability to be freed up of any constrictions. Massage is generally in the realm of a physical therapist or sports masseuse. Both of these specialties are highly knowledgeable in the use of massage to help the body restore itself after heavy exertion efforts.
- Ice massage is a very effective method and is accomplished by rubbing ice over the affected areas for 10-15 minutes after the exercise period is finished. The sensation sequence is cold, localized cold pain followed by numbness. At the numbness point, the massage is continued for several more minutes, being careful not to freeze the skin in the process.
- Contrast baths are a specific sequence of cold and hot water treatments. One that is commonly used is cold, hot, cold, hot, cold each lasting for about 5-6 minutes each. The theory is the cold slows down further degeneration of the tissue damage in the area. The hot then brings a great profusion of blood to the region, which then flushes out the waste products. More cold/hot repeats the process and so on.
- General Physical Preparation means the individuals level of physical preparedness. Is it up to performing the imposed volume and load? This portion usually implies a higher volume of training at a lower intensity.