12 Nov Recovery and Regeneration
Get to Know Your Body
Athletes know their bodies well. Whether you are a runner, triathlete, CrossFit athlete, mixed martial arts fighter or combatives/tactical athlete, these tips are for you.
The biggest single key to completing a major athletic event like a marathon or full Ironman 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 during training compounds injury over time. Every bit of repetitive motion stress that you can reduce or eliminate on the training side can often pay big dividends on race day or during the course of 4-6 months or longer of training. If the body needs more recovery and it is a long run day, you must be able to adjust your training by decreasing volume or just being able to take a rest day. 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.
Tips on Recovery and Regeneration
DEEP TISSUE LASER
One of the modalities we use in my office and that you will find in nearly every high level athletic training room is a 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.
INFLAMMATION AND PAIN CONTROL
Ice 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.
MYOFASCIAL & JOINT MANIPULATION
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 and other fascial release techniques with manipulative therapies like Chiropractic are extremely effective treatments for these issues. The result is better, smoother movement. You can then swim, bike, and run faster, longer, and with less pain and injury.
Functional Training and Core Training
This section 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. 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.
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 tissues 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.
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.