The science behind rest & recovery

The science behind rest & recovery

March 10, 2018 2 Comments

When you've been rocket man all week, you're going to need to take an absolute rest day. Training like a rockstar going towards elite athlete status is all cool, but without recovering properly - that's never going to happen. Don't pay off recovery because it is one of the most important things you can do when it comes to continual progress. The following terms & conditions to correct recovery have been scientifically proven by nerds in a lab and published in peer-reviewed journals, so it's not just babble by some guy on the interwebs. Read on if you're keen to know more about recovering effectively...

"Athletes understand the importance of exercise training for optimal performance and improvement. However, rest and recovery is also an important aspect of an exercise program because it allows the body time to repair and strengthen itself in between workouts. It also allows the athlete to recover, both physically and psychologically."

What happens during the recovery period? The body is allowed to adapt to the stress associated with exercise, and provides time for the damaged tissue to repair.

There are two different categories of recovery:

  1. Immediate or short-term recovery – This is the most common form of recovery and occurs within hours after an exercise session or event. Short-term recovery includes low intensity exercise after working out and during the cool down phase.
  2. Long-term recovery – This refers to recovery periods that are built into a seasonal training schedule and may include days or weeks incorporated into an annual athletic program.

Rest: Now we are talking about actual rest, sleep. This is one of the most important ways to get your body to quickly recover from the physical and mental demands of hard training.

Hydration and eating: One of the most vital aspects of both training and recovery is being properly hydrated. And nourishment falls right in line with hydration. Food helps to restore the body’s energy supply, so try to eat good, healthy options at the right windows of time to enhance your performance and recovery.

Massages: Getting a massage helps to loosen up muscles and increase oxygen and blood flow into muscles. Another potential benefit caused by a pain stimulus from certain tissues to the neural network can allow (sub)contracted muscles to relax where they could subconsciously be tensed by the brain.

Contrast therapy: If you are or were an athlete this may be familiar to you, but those who don’t have a facility at their disposal might not use it as frequently. You will be contrasting between an ice bath and a hot shower. You want to be sure to start and end with cold (like an ice bath). Jump in the ice bath for about 45 seconds and then into the hot shower for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat this three times. The benefits of contrast therapy are to increase blood flow to the muscles.

Ice bath: A familiar process to many, an ice bath causes the blood vessels of the body to constrict, pushing the blood away from the muscle because of the cool temperature. Once you are done and start to warm up, the vessels open up and allow blood flow back into the muscle.



2 Responses

Skilled Athlete
Skilled Athlete

March 11, 2018

G’day Mitch, first off – thanks for your input mate. You’re very much on the money. Without going highly technical in what is essentially a very basic article on the “Why and How” to recover correctly. The goal of the article here is to serve as a basic reminder of why, and what to do, instead of just taking a day off.
We agree that periodisation is absolutely paramount to recovery, not just going in for a backrub, and are definitely included in the structure and layout of our training programs. Even the free one.

At the outset, WOD’s from week 1 alluded to the structure of the Free WOD Program.
Because you brought it up, there’s obviously some questions in regards to structure, which I’ll address below.

The workouts we’re offering come from a program based on 2 sessions per day. 1 session is strength/muscular endurance and the next session is cardiovascular development. In that regards, you can grab each workout as it comes daily, or you can bank it and run both sessions as written in the program and perform two sessions per day. The denominations 1.1 and 1.2 – 2.1, 2.2 etc work as follows: 1.1, training day one, session one. 1.2 training day one session 2 and so forth.

Each block has a 3 week loading phase and a one week de-load phase. No extra sessions of resistance training, strength and endurance are recommended due to the significant volume in the program. Extra sessions can lead to overtraining and fatigue and/or injury leading into competition. Strength exercise weights are to be conducted with % of max weight that can be lifted as 1RM at good technique. Sets are not to be conducted to failure unless explicitly stated and weight should be adjusted accordingly. Perfect technique for every repetition is more important.
Warmup 2-3 sets prior to work listed as the workout. 5-10minutes for cardio. Impact cardio (Weighted or clean-skin) is cycled with at minimum 1 day non-impact cardio for injury prevention purposes. If a training session is missed for that day, continue the program as written. Consider the session lost as recovery gained, attempting to include this on another day will induce unnecessary stress and is strongly discouraged.

FYSA – this is a copy/paste from the written program and I’ve posted it as a reply to your comment. Keep in mind we’re posting workouts which originate from a highly structured and time-consuming program for free. At the end of the day, our free WOD’s and articles are supplementation to our paid content and by no means exhaustive when we bring things up. I appreciate you taking the time to comment though. I hope my response satisfies your argument somewhat.

Mitch
Mitch

March 10, 2018

I love your work, and nearly everything you put out is legit. In contrast, this article is under-done. An article about the importance of rest days without mentioning supercompensation (among other things) isn’t hitting the mark. Accumulated lactic acid doesn’t cause DOMS… but that’s irrelevant because the actual scientific cause of DOMS, whilst never being proven, does not necessarily mean contrast showers and massages don’t work in other ways. They are definitely helpful, however lactic acid removal is not their mechanism (the body will neutralise Hydrogen Ions perfectly well before you even think of a massage). I’m not ragging on you guys, but you claimed to be scientifically proven and not babble… then went on to babble. Recovery is just as, if not more, important as the training itself and should be approached just as rigorously. A proper understanding of supercompensation with the principles of periodisation, utilising macro, meso and micro-cycles would probably lead to people taking recovery a little more seriously. Cheers cunts

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