Serious athletes know that once they leave training their real work is just about to begin. Proper recovery is an active process consisting of mobility, gentle resistance and range of motion work to stimulate blood flow. Simply put, blood flow gets good stuff in and bad stuff out. Avoiding areas that are sore are a common mistake made by youth athletes and weekend warriors alike. If your feeling a bit roasted YOU NEED TO MOVE!
Before delving deeper into recovery we need to first understand what mobility truly means. First and foremost, mobility is NOT synonymous with flexibility. Mobility is a multidimensional approach to human movement. Flexibility is just a portion of the entire whole that is mobility. Let’s think of mobility as three distinct parts.
1. Flexibility, traditional understanding of lengthening of a muscle
2. Joint Capsule Range of Motion, freedom of movement around a joint including interactions with ligaments and tendons
3. Muscle/ Fascial Tissue Quality, how layers of muscle tissue interact with each other
To truly understand the recovery process all three of the components of mobility listed above need to be addressed regularly if not daily. For instance, you could have the most flexible muscles in the world but if your joints are physically impinged because of the rigors of life, training, and even gravity you ll have missing ranges of motion and ultimately this detracts from efficiency in movement. The same can be said for surface on surface interactions within muscles. Layers of muscle are intended to glide smoothely and interact effortlessly with each other. However, this is rarely the case! When you train hard these muscle tissues become adhered to each other creating a gnarly , balled up mess. This mess needs to be broken up via foam rolling, lacrosse ball smashing and simple massage.
To perform simple self maintenance you just need four (4) things. These things will allow you to recover from what has been done and prepare for what is yet to be done!
1. Foam Roller , break up those nasty matted down muscle adhesions
2. Lacrosse Ball, this is just a more aggressive approach to breaking up junky tissue. Liken this to a foam roller on PED s, kind of like A ROD.
3. Jump Stretch Band, that can be tethered or anchored to just about anything. Hook this around your hips and shoulders with some significant tension and you ll resist proper joint spacing for humerus in shoulder girdle and femur in pelvic girdle.
4. YOURSELF, dynamic movements such as lunging, crawling, rolling and tumbling are fantastic for both recovery and mobility.
Until next time, train smarter and stay juiced y’all!
– Mike Whiteman
Strength and Conditioning Coach, Pittsburgh Riverhounds