Recovery more important than Quantity of Training
Training Effect = Work x Recovery
In simple terms, if we take T (training) to be one unit for a typical session, then to make the TE (training effect) actually show the benefits of the training, the R (recovery) needs to be at least equal to one.
Many athletes are already training at their physical limits. By adding any additional training sessions to their current schedule would likely lead to overtraining. Eventually, this can cause physical burnout.
It is not the actual training that makes the athlete fitter bUT the recovery that allows for performance improvements. If you fail to recover you fail to improve!.
Of course, without the physical training, the recovery aspect becomes insignificant. If an athlete fails to give them a sufficient recovery period after a hard training session. Not only will they fail to progress in their training, but also their performance levels will go backward.
The focus of this article will be on different recovery techniques. Athletes may use to help them recover faster in their training. A faster recovery means a better-prepared athlete for subsequent training sessions. And ultimately a better performance…
From footballers to runners the ice bath has become one of the most frequently used forms of recovery, used by athletes today. We have all seen the pictures of rugby players jumping into ice baths after a match. We have seen the pictures of Craig Mottram. And other elite athletes immersing themselves in the icy waters of Falls Creek, after a hard training session.
For those that have been brave enough to immerse themselves in an ice bath for 10-15 mins.
They will no doubt tell you how much better they feel afterward. How much better they feel going into their next training session.
When an athlete jumps into an ice bath and remains there for up to 10-15 mins. The cold water causes their blood vessels to tighten and constrict draining blood from their legs. Blood is drained from their legs the waste products produced during the training session, primarily lactic acid drain.
When the athlete finishes with the ice bath. their legs will then fill up with ‘new’ blood carrying with it greater oxygen. Helping the cells and muscles in the body to regenerate and function better.
Ice Bath Incorporated into Training
Some simple ways in which athletes can incorporate this into their training. Either fill up a large garbage bin or auto-bin with cold water. And then add a packet of ice (easily bought from a service station or 7/11). Immerse their legs for 10-15 mins.
Alternatively, if the athlete has access to a bath at home they can run the bath with cold water and then fill it with ice to achieve the same effect. It is important to note that an athlete should not stay in an ice bath for more than 20 minutes. After 20 minutes the cells in the body actually begin to vasodilate instead of vasoconstrict. Meaning that inflammatory reactions increase.
If the athlete has any form of soft tissue injury any increase in inflammation to the area will prolong healing time.
Benefits of Ice Massage for Back Injury Recovery / Self Massage Techniques
Article By: Stephen H. Hochschuler, MD from spine-health.com
In a world of sophisticated medical care, a simple ice massage can still be one of the more effective, proven methods to treat a sore lower back or neck. It is effective when used either alone or in combination with other treatments.
For patients experiencing back pain, ice massage therapy is quick, free, easy to do, and it can provide significant relief for many types of back pain and is especially effective for a sore back caused by lower back muscle strain.
Ice massages can help provide relief for back pain in a number of ways:
- Ice application slows the inflammation and swelling that occurs after injury. Most back pain is accompanied by some type of inflammation, and addressing the inflammation helps reduce the pain
Ice numbs sore tissues (providing pain relief similar to a local anesthetic)
- Ice application slows the nerve impulses in the area, which interrupts the pain-spasm reaction between the nerves
Icing decreases tissue damage
- The massage adds the beneficial effects of gentle manipulation of the soft tissues
Ice massage therapy is most effective if it is applied as soon as possible after the injury occurs, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
- The cold makes the veins in the tissues contract, reducing circulation. Once the cold is removed, the veins overcompensate and dilate and blood rushes into the area. The infusion of blood in the area brings with it the necessary nutrients to help the injured back muscles, ligaments, and tendons to heal.
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Similar to the ice baths, contrast showers are used to help remove waste products from the body. Also to enrich it with newer and more highly oxygenated blood. For some athletes having access to an ice bath can prove too difficult. It can also be a timely procedure, making contrast showers a more attractive option.
The contrast shower is very simple. The athlete starts by standing under the hot shower for three minutes. They then turn the hot water off and the cold water on and remains there for one minute. The cold water is then turned off and the hot water back on.
This cycle is repeated two more times for a total of three cycles. The important part of this recovery method is to ensure that the athlete finishes on cold and not hot. This helps to stimulate the body’s nervous system.
When undertaking the one minute of cold. Ensure that the cold water makes contact with the major muscles in the legs, Also spend time with the cold water striking the back of the neck. It has been proposed that contact with cold water over this area maximizes the recovery of the central nervous system.
For those lucky enough to have access to a regular massage. recovery from training and racing can be greatly enhanced. Like the above two mentioned techniques massage is an effective tool in increasing circulation to sore and tired muscles and hence improves the flow of oxygen
With athletes constantly striving for ways to improve their performance, the focus on recovery techniques is becoming increasingly popular. Ben Liddy shows us ways to get the most from your athletic performance. The icy-cold water at Falls Creek is a natural ice bath.
Throughout the body. A vigorous yet firm massage helps in the removal of lactic acid. A deeper more intense massage can be used to break down any adhesion or scar tissue that has developed as a result of the traumas related to prolonged and intense training. The timing of the massage and the type of massage received is an important element to consider when booking in for a massage.
Post Prolonged Intense Training Session
Following either a prolonged or intense training session soft tissues in the body are temporarily damaged. Adequate recovery allows these tissues to rebuild to a stronger level than previously. However, if a very deep massage is applied soon after a very hard training session. The tissues will sustain further damage and actually require a longer recovery period.
Ideally, a deeper more intense massage should be applied two days following a very intense training session to allow time for some recovery of these soft tissues. At least 2-3 days prior to a competition.
An athlete will often feel a little flat following a very deep massage treatment. Leaving this 2-3 day window ensures that they will not feel flat come race day. A less intense but vigorous massage at any stage in the training week.
SELF MASSAGE FOR ATHLETES
Technique: 7 Strokes
Try It: Try 7 light gliding strokes up and down your upper leg. Slightly vary the location and intensity of each stroke. Then try it on your other leg.
Purpose: Gliding is a good beginning for every massage. It warms your skin and sends a message to your body that a massage is coming.
Stroke Description: Glide your hand over your skin.
Note: Massage therapists call this stroke by its French name effleurage which means gliding or skimming.
Tips: Velocity, volume, and intensity are three variables you can use to change the effect each stroke has on you.
Volume: Try covering more skin with each stroke by spreading your fingers wide or make a V with your hand.
Velocity: Try varying the speed of your strokes.
Intensity: Try varying the intensity of each stroke.
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Learn these seven simple massage strokes and a great massage will never be farther away than your fingertips.
There has been a huge increase in the number of athletes using compression garments. More specifically Skins over the last few years to improve performance and facilitate recovery.
It has been proposed that the unique compression load applied to the muscles by the skin’s garments triggers an acceleration of blood flow. This increases oxygen flow to the working muscles and improving the removal of waste products.
Their compression reduces muscle vibration during exercise. Resulting in less soft tissue damage and muscle soreness. What distinguishes Skins from other compression garments is the unique gradient compression the garments apply.
Most other forms of compression clothing provide the same compression load over the entire covered area. However, too little or too much compression can either have no effect or inhibit muscle performance and flexibility. In contrast Skins, garments apply varying forms of compression over the different muscle groups to ensure optimal compression and maximal performance. (www.skins.net)
The role of proper nutrition and hydration becomes increasingly important following intense training or racing efforts. Although most serious athletes follow a fairly strict diet. It is important to review the roles of nutrition to ensure an athlete achieves maximum recovery.
Proper nutrition ensures:
- Restoration of the lost fuel from the muscles and liver following exercise
- Replacement of fluids and electrolytes lost in a sweat The immune system is able to recover
From the intense bouts of exercise manufacturing of new muscle protein, red blood cells, and other cellular components repair.
- Restoration of the lost fuel from the muscles and liver following exercise
Following intense exercise, muscle glycogen levels become depleted.
These glycogen levels need to be replenished ASAP in order for an athlete to recover effectively for future exercise bouts. Ideally, athletes should look at consuming 1.5-2 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight within 15 minutes of finishing their training session or race. Some simple ideas to achieve this include:
- (50 g Carbohydrate portions)
- 700-800 ml of sports drink
- 2 slices of bread with jam/honey or
- banana topping
- 2 cereal bars
Research is now suggesting that combining a carbohydrate-rich snack with an adequate protein source may be more beneficial for an athletes’ recovery. Protein is used for repairing damaged muscles following intense exercise so it makes sense to combine a snack that restores muscle glycogen levels and also assists muscle recovery.
Combined carbohydrate + protein sources include:
- Sustagen sport drinks
- Fruit smoothie
- A large bowl of breakfast cereal with
- Bread roll with cheese/meat filling
Replacement of fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat. For optimal recovery ensuring fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat are replenished following exercise is essential.
This is particularly important for athletes completing long training sessions or races in hot conditions. Athletes may need to replace 150 percent of the fluid deficit following exercise to get back to normal levels. A good way to monitor this is for the athlete to weigh them prior to and after the completion of a training session.
If you are 2 kg lighter following training then you will need to drink 3L of fluid over the next few hours to replace the existing and ongoing fluid losses.
An athlete’s immune system is suppressed which is more susceptible to illness. Recent evidence suggests that the consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods after a prolonged intense hard workout improves immune system function and reduces the risk of athletes developing an infectious illness
After intense exercise or heavy resistance training muscle protein breaks down. It is during the recovery period that the muscles begin to repair themselves and grow stronger and bigger.
Intake of protein immediately following exercise assists in allowing the muscles to rebuild themselves at a faster rate.
Recent research shows that athletes who participate in resistance training based exercises should actually consume protein prior to their training session because it is used for muscle regeneration more effectively than protein that is consumed immediately following the training session.
The information on nutrition in this article is from the AIS website.
One way in which athletes can monitor their responses to training and the need for additional recovery is through heart rate. Athletes should get into the routine of taking their heart rate for 1 min while resting in bed in the morning.
The athlete should then stand up and take their heart rate for another minute. After doing this for a week athletes will begin to notice there is a similar difference between their resting heart rate and their heart rate upon standing.
Continue to monitor this each day and if you begin to notice that the difference between the two heart rates begins to increase by greater then 10%. This is a good sign that your body is not completely recovered from the previous hard training and requires additional recovery time. This additional recovery time could take the format of a complete rest day or a very easy training session. You may also choose to implement some of the recovery techniques outlined in this article.
Although quite simple, these techniques can be very effective in allowing athletes to recover quicker from intense training efforts. This allows the athlete to perform better in subsequent training sessions allowing the implementation of more frequent intense training sessions.
What If I Have to Take a Break from Running?
As I have a cold/flu coming along I have decided to skip training today as I want to be fully rested for my race next weekend. I found this article on about.com
By Christine Luff, About.com Guide
Updated February 15, 2012
Question: What If I Have to Take a Break from Running?
I’ve been sick, so I haven’t run in five days. I feel like I’m behind in my 5K training schedule. What should I do? Should I make up the runs that I missed?
Answer: Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Sometimes an illness, an injury, or a hectic schedule prevents us from sticking to our running schedule. Here’s how you can handle a break in your training.
If you’ve been away from running for less than a week:
It’s possible to take up to a week off without losing any ground. In fact, a few days of rest may even improve your performance, especially if you’ve been feeling exhausted and sore. But after a week of not training, you’ll quickly start to lose your fitness — a lot faster than it took you to build it up.
Read the full article here
Home Remedies For Muscle Spasms And Cramps
By Nicola Kennedy
One of the easiest ways to deal with muscle spasm is to have a hot bath or shower. You can also do some simple stretch exercises. This will improve blood circulation and help the connective tissue around the muscles. Before you pump up those muscles, hit the showers, it would prevent any occurrence of muscle spasm.
Muscle spasm mainly happens due to calcium deficiency, so include calcium in your diet. You can find a good source of calcium in low-fat dairy products such as yogurt, skim milk, and ricotta cheese. Before eating and drinking a calcium-rich diet, consult your doctor.
If you are prone to muscle spasms it may be because of the acids that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Lessen the intake of acidic foods like tomatoes and vinegar. Inadequate supply of potassium to your body is another reason for muscle spasms. Increase your intake of potassium, eat a good amount of bananas, potatoes, soya flour, bran wheat, ready-to-eat apricots, tomato puree and such.
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How to Get Rid of Sore Muscles
After reviewing for the job interview i didn’t sleep at all as i had too much on my mind Tuesday night. After the job interview, i did my usual weds gym session of front squats, as I’m focusing on 400s I’m doing high reps. 45×15, 50×15, 55×15, 60×15, 65×15. I had to chuck on my headset to some good sounds to get me through the last two sets.
Also, i made sure i had longer rests, i usually only have a minute or 2 between each set but i took around 6-8 mins as I hadn’t slept the night before to allow adequate recovery and made sure i was drinking plenty of water. Anyway, i followed the directions from the below article, and even though i woke up sore after an 11-hour sleep on Thursday i was still able to complete a 2×60,2×80,2×100 session at the track and finish with a 43.4 350 (the 250-350 was faster than the 150-250) segment.
This article below high lights how important it is to recuperate tired muscles.
Sore muscles are a part of getting back on that exercise train. Increasing physical activity and exercise will naturally stress and fatigue your muscles. Soreness means your body is adapting to the activity and building strength. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to reduce the discomfort of exercised muscles.
- When adding ice make sure to put it in a sealed bag or if not possible a plastic bag. It should never be applied directly to the skin as it can cause burn and cause muscles to take longer to heal. The bag should be tied tight with a towel as the compression element is just as important as the ice itself.
- Ice should always be applied first for 48 hours or until swelling subsides then moist heat should be applied.
- Some people have an intolerance to Ibuprofen and anti-inflams best to check with the doctor first.
This tape can help prevent and accelerate the recovery of muscles.