Many people believe that recovery is simply a break from doing the activity they usually do, but EFFECTIVE recovery is so much more than that.
It is true that simply resting will help to restore your energy levels, so that’s a good thing, but it won’t do anything to help your body deal with the stresses and strains of training.
So if your recovery only consists of not training and eating lots, then you’ll start next season heavier (which increases the strain on the joints), and just as tight as when you were training, but not as sore.
Your lack of training over your recovery period will lead you tighten further and you’ll start the winter season with your body in a worse state than when you finished.
If you want to make the best use of your recovery time, you’ll need just ONE thing: Increased blood flow
Blood carries nutrients to the joints that hydrates them and allows them to repair. It also removes any lactic acid, ensuring movement feels easy, and helps organs (like the brain) to function more effectively.
When muscles are tight, their natural spiral tightens, which restrict the blood flow getting through. This leads to a drying out of the joints (which leads to wear and tear), creating damage, and quite often, pain. It also means that organs such as the brain and kidneys can’t function properly, leading to issues such as sleep disruption, lack of concentration and an inefficient waste disposal system.
In order to recover properly, we need to improve the blood flow reaching the muscles and organs and the quickest way to do that is to unwind the spiral in the muscle, which removes the compression caused by the excessive tightness in the spiral and allows the blood to flow freely.
Making this a priority in your recovery period is a very SMARTT® thing to do, since not only does it improve your recovery, leaving your body more prepared to handle your training when you start again, but it also improves your technique (through improved joint position and freedom of movement) and performance (through improved movement efficiency).
Bodies continually adapt to what we do AND don’t do, so if we train without any effort to unwind the tightness that the training creates, our bodies accept that tightness as the new normal, and carry on as before. Eventually they reach the point where they can’t adapt any further, and can’t handle our training stresses anymore – that’s when we get injured – a point I like to call the Adaptation Disintegration™.
I’m sure you know of people who’ve gone many seasons without being injured, then they seem to be perpetually suffering. That’s because they hadn’t reached the Adaptation Disintegration™ point before. When they do, it’s can be a long road to recovery, or a prolonged management of multiple issues.
Let’s make sure that next season isn’t the one where you reach your Adaptation Disintegration™ point.
Fortunately, everything we do here at mostmotion® is based on this exact principle, so if you’ve been putting it off, or you’ve fallen off the mobility wagon recently, or you’ve just been a bit less consistent than usual, your recovery time is a great opportunity to get focused on preparing your body properly for next season.
Hip flexors are a great place to start, since I don’t know anyone that hasn’t got tight ones!
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