Recovery Strategies to improve Your Sports Performance (Part 3- Advance Strategies)
- Active Recovery
- Self Massage
- Sports Massage
Active recovery or sometimes known as active rest is to engage the athletes in light aerobic forms of exercises such as cycling, jogging, swimming or simple games after the training session. These exercises should be different from those normally performed during training. Pool work involving swimming or exercises such as running in water, is an excellent form of active recovery as the water provides a good buoyant medium to relax the muscles and joints. Research has shown that active recovery is very beneficial as it can help the athlete to recover efficiently from physical and mental fatigue.
It is important to loosen up the soft tissues such as muscles and fascia that get all tight and stiff after training. This is to ensure that adaptive shortening of the soft tissues do not occur, which may result in reduced range of motion, potentially affecting sports performance. Stretching is a simple and effective way of loosening up tight muscles and fascia but is unable to reach the deeper muscles or trigger point areas. In order to loosen up these deeper soft tissues, the athlete can go for a sports massage or alternatively, self massage with the use of trigger balls or foam rollers. The beauty about using trigger ball or foam roller (though not as effective as sports massage) is that you can do them daily in conjunction to stretches. To see how you can use them effectively, click on the link…
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps, the winner of 8 Olympic gold medals at the event, is reputed to have 2 massages a day to maintain his body in tip top condition. Many serious athletes also engage in sports massage regularly as a form of sports recovery. While there has been no conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of massage, there are many reported benefits. These benefits include:
- Improved blood flow and circulation leading to better delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and joints, as well as more effective removal of lactic acid
- Loosening up tight muscles, fascia and trigger points thus improving muscle flexibility and joint range of motion
- More relaxed mood state
Looking at such reported benefits, sports massage is a good way for athletes to recover quickly physically and physiologically. If you are training 3 to 4 times a week, it is recommended that you get a good sports massage at least once a week or 2 weeks.