Top Six Recovery Methods for Athletes
By Joe Hashey
· Food: It’s simple. When you’re done working out, you have to eat a protein source to build muscles. Muscles are made of proteins, and without consuming any protein quickly (in the first 45 minutes after a workout—the earlier the better), muscles won’t grow.
On top of that, eating quality meals with a protein source, carbohydrate, and additional vegetable will help your body feel better after training.
· Self-myofascial release and active release techniques (ART): This includes foam rolling, which I have posted about extensively, using a lax ball, Theracane, the Stick, or any other massage tool. When a muscle stretches near the point of injury, the Golgi tendon organ (GTO) tells the muscle spindles to relax. Foam rolling stimulates the muscle and works the GTO so the athlete can work in a more complete range of motion without the muscles shutting down. Also, ART techniques are helpful in fixing soft tissue adhesion and dissipating scar tissue build up.
· Contrast showers and baths: For the first few times that you use contrast showers, it may be uncomfortable but still invigorating! You can isolate the contrasting to a body part such as the hands by using two buckets—one with hot water and one with icy cold water. Perform contrasting and you will feel great! Contrasting relaxes and excites the muscles, moves blood through, and shortens the restoration time.
· Warm up, stretch, and relax: Stretching has been a hot topic in the training world lately. Stretching post-workout and on rest days will help recovery. First, during a workout, muscles contract and shorten. Stretching them after the workout insures the muscles range of motion and length. Pre-workout you should be using (with a couple exceptions) a dynamic stretching routine. For recovery, I recommend increasing the body’s core temperature with some light exercises such as jogging or jumping jacks and then perform a static stretching routine.
· Hydrate: Drinking water is crucial. There are many recovery drinks out there, but to keep my demographic in mind, water is the most practical. Drinking on your rest days will help push toxins out and keep the muscles loose.
· Relax (sleep): Recovery requires relaxing. You must relax and get your sleep. At their age, they should be getting around eight hours of sleep a night. More rest may be required after a strenuous competition or training.
Joe Hashey is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA and the owner of Synergy Athletics. After playing Division 1AA football at Colgate University, he dedicated his time and experience to helping the next generation of athletes. For more articles or to contact Joe, visit www.Synergy-Athletics.com. Videos of his training techniques can also be found atwww.youtube.com/jhashey.
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