Combining Recovery Techniques
Upon hearing the word recovery, one might be inclined to think ‘ahhhh’, I get to sit back on the couch and take a day off to ease my sore muscles.’ But in general, that’s not the best thing. At all.
There are two essential types of recovery from exercise… passive recovery and active recovery.
- Passive Recovery – resting with focus on stillness and inactivity. This is only warranted in the case of acute injury.
- Active Recovery – performing movements focusing on boosting recovery, instead of intensity. This mode is ideal for everything alleviating from muscle soreness and tightness to improving mobility and overall wellbeing.
What exactly is Active Recovery?
Active recovery involves low intensity activity or movement. This will give circulation a boost to help move nutrients such as amino acids and oxygen to the muscles so they can repair themselves. It also helps flush out waste products that build up during exercise, such as hydrogen ions and lactic acid that contribute to muscle damage and fatigue.
Muscles and joints love circulation and need it to heal after a challenging workout. This circulation of fresh blood cells and oxygens enhances and speeds up the recovery process.
According to the American Council on Exercise, Active Recovery can include:
- Massage – self or professional
- Mobility exercises – moving through a full range of motion, but avoiding long holds as in stretching
- General light physical activity – something between passive rest and a workout
There are many types of modalities and applications available for Active Recovery.
You might consider massage. Everyone loves a massage chair, and they effectively rejuvenate blood flow and circulation throughout the body to promote recovery.
The use of compression technology can be highly effective. When we compress a part of the body, we essentially squeeze out “old” fluid that carries the waste products of muscle breakdown. When we release that pressure, fresh blood comes in to deliver the nutrients and warmth to help with repair and rebuilding.
Another option is Cryotherapy. The goal of cryotherapy is to achieve a 30-to-40-degree skin temperature drop in two to three minutes. This triggers body’s natural fight-or-flight response, causing blood to rush from the extremities to the core — protecting vital organs. After the session, freshly oxygenated blood is delivered throughout the body, aiding in healing, and reducing inflammation.
Foam rolling is also a good application and works to release muscle and fascia tension to promote blood flow sending oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and soft tissue.
Vibration Therapy is used by athletes, universities, and fitness enthusiasts alike. This is the use of harmonic vibrations to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and increase hormonal and peripheral nervous system responses to enhance the recovery process overall.
And better yet, you can combine these modalities!
By synergizing applications in the right “order”, you can effectively promote and enhance each one’s purpose, amplifying the entire recovery process.
How to Build Synergized Modality Programming for Recovery
As an easy example to start off, try using compression first to fire up the elimination of waste in the muscles. Follow this with a few minutes in a massage chair or using a percussive massage gun. After the massage session, use Power Plate for three minutes to amplify the effects of compression and massage.
A great group option is to use targeted options like foam rollers partnered up with whole-body vibration after workouts and exercise classes. A best practice on this can be seen from our friends at Holmes Place who created a Movement and Recovery Session that gets more people recovered in less time.
Here is our favorite routine for maximizing the benefits of other recovery modalities using Power Plate after a recovery session.