Recovery and Regeneration

Recovery and Regeneration

Get to Know Your Body

This article is for every active athlete out there, be it the runner, triathlete, CrossFitter, mixed martial arts fighter or combatives/tactical athlete.  The biggest single key to completing a major athletic event like a marathon or full Ironmanm half marathon or half IM distance racing is being able to get to the start line healthy enough to compete.  This same holds true for the CrossFitter training for the CrossFit Open.  Simply stated “the mileage and cumulative trauma your body endures that you can save on the training side can often pay big dividends on race day or during your “A” race, and over the course of 4-6 months or longer of training. If the body needs more recovery and it is a long run day, being able to deal mentally with tweaking your training by adjusting your days, decreasing volume or just being able to take a rest day can be vital to your success. This strategy can play a major role to helping prevent overtraining.  Tracking your workouts, as well as sleep and regeneration is a great way to monitor your training and progress.  More on tracking sleep in another article. Tips on Recovery and Regeneration Potomac Physical Medicine is now offering LightForce Deep Tissue Laser.  This high tech class IV laser delivers healing energy deep into the tissue at the cellular level to increase mitochondrial production of ATP(energy) which your body uses to repair and regenerate tissue.  The laser increases circulation and oxygenation of tissue and reduces pain associated with acute and chronic setting sports and repetitive motion injuries, arthritis, and other muscle and joint pain syndromes.

In this article I will be discussing how to utilize the following: Ice and compression socks. How to use a foam roller. What is ART? What about chiropractic?. Functional training, especially core training. Balance training. Why foam rolling body work and stretching are essential for recovery, injury prevention and optimizing performance. Why Yoga is great. Why ice baths after long rides and runs are a great way to decrease inflammation and speed recovery. The Magic Ladder to Resolving Muscle and Joint Pain Ice and compression socks:  Read about ice baths and compression socks.  The basic science behind ice is that it helps to reduce inflammation.  It does so by altering hemodynamics.  That’s a technical physiology term for circulatory movement of blood through your body.  When you place ice on an injured or overused area, blood is shunted away from that area.  After keeping the ice on for 15 minutes, when the ice is removed the body rewarms the area by flushing fresh blood into that area.  In the process, new oxygenated blood is carried in and the inflammatory mediates are flushed away.  Using ice on and off 3-4 times a day keeps this process active, flushing out bad stuff and bringing in newly oxygenated blood to help recovery.  The inflammatory process is designed to be short lived and is protective for the body.  With continued repetitive motion, inflammation can occur daily to overused tissues, keeping these areas inflamed.  Inflammation is the first stage in an injury process.  The body is designed too move on to repair and remodeling after the initial inflammatory phase is resolved.  In situations of an acute trauma, this inflammatory phase should only last up to 72 hours, and then the body should move on to repair and remodeling.  With a repetitive motion injury however, the microtrauma that occurs with continued use creates a perpetual inflammatory state.  And the body cannot proceed to repair and remodeling.  The solution?  Ice, Ice, Ice and modification of activities to deload the injured area. Learn How to do an Ice Bath Here When in Doubt, ICE it Out What is ART and Chiropractic and how doe they help with injuries? Muscles move bone.  Muscles can get glued down to other muscles and prevent null range of motion.  Joints have a small amount of motion at end range called “joint play”.  This small amount of motion is designed to allow for smoother movement and allow the joint to absorb the shock that occurs with movements.  Adhesions (areas of muscles glued together) reduce the ability of soft tissues to slide during movement.  This “stickiness” of sliding surfaces reduces motion and can even result in weakness of muscles during certain movements.  Decreased joint play can result in painful movement of the joints if they are forced into a movement that is reduced.  What’s the solution?  Combining Active Release Techniques with Chiropractic is a great synergistic treatment for these issues.  The result?  Better, smoother movement.  You can then swim, bike, and run faster, longer, and with less pain and injury. ART and Chiropractic Ensuring Better Movement   Functional Training and Core Training This article is not designed to be an extensive and all-encompassing view on strength training.  The main objective here is to highlights a basic paradigm for strength training for the triathlete.  The word functional is misleading and a “buzzword”.  I mean, if you can bend over to tie your shoes that is a functional movement isn’t it?  What we really mean by functional training is moving the body during exercise in a way that mimics the movement you do in life and in sport.  For example, squatting.  We squat in real life all the time.  Getting in and out of a chair for example.  A simple analogy is this:  Going to a gym and sitting on a machine that locks you into position so that you can do a lift that isolates a muscle is akin to having one person out of a team of 6 on a tug of war team pulling.  That is not how it is meant to work.  When all 6 team members pull, the power output is greater.  Our bodies are designed to move through an orchestrated framework of slings (muscles) moving rods (bones).  Most “functional” movements we make require the concerted effort of several muscles, including those that stabilize joints as well as those that grossly move joints during movement.  Think of a symphony conducted by a chamber orchestra perfectly tuned.  For expressing sheer dramatic power through music, there is still nothing that quite matches what a full complement of orchestral instruments can do for inspiring emotion and excitement in an audience.  The same can be said for a body in balance. By focusing on multi-joint, total body workouts that incorporate core stability, the triathlete can optimize their human performance and help prevent injury.  Exercises like planks, side planks, gluteal bridges, and cable chops are great for core.  TRX suspension training is awesome.  Focus on lifts like deadlift, squats, kettlebell swings for driving power in the posterior chain.  Upper body strength can be improved with proper push and pull movements such as push ups, pull-ups, TRX inverted rows, ring rows etc. The Key to working out around pain The Top Ten Do’s and Don’ts in Strength Training Strength Training Tips for the Triathlete Proper Sequencing of Exercise Selection   Balance Training There are several muscles of the lower leg referred to as “sling muscles”.  These include the tibialis anterior and posterior, peroneals, flexor digitorum longus.  There are three layers of muscles on the bottom of the feet.  The point to all this is that these muscles aid to form and control the arches of your feet with walking and running.  They need to be trained for optimal function.  People often say they have “weak ankles”, but what they really mean is that these muscles listed above are uncoordinated.  Balance training with a rocker or wobble board and doing exercises like single leg stance balance work can pay big dividends on balance and even help prevent injuries such as sprained ankles, ITB, runners knee and even hip and lower back problems. Why you need to do mobility work daily The soft tissues of the body include the muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.  These tissue get tight and glued down with repetitive motion and with sustained postural load.  Take for example the muscles of the shoulder girdle and neck.  These muscles are under constant tension during a long bike.  Subsequently they get very tight and glued down.  Athletes need a way to manage this condition.  You need a way to help erase some of the miles from the tissues.  Welcome in foam roller and lacrosse balls.  When you can’t get ART every day, these tools allow you to mobilize tight restricted tissues daily.  And they should be worked on daily.  Most athletes have several areas that get tight and often have more than one problem area.  The solution?  Spend about 10 minutes a day working on some of your issues. Learn How to Use a Foam Roller The Top Ten Corrective Exercises for Triathletes Why Yoga is great. Yoga forces you into positions that will lengthen your tissues and mobilize your joints for better overall movement.  Incorporating Yoga into your training regimen is a great way to optimize your mobility.