Saturday, 21 September 2013


Dr Makus W Laupheimer from has just published one of my little pieces about recovery in sport. If you would like to read it just go to his website or click here. Also, you can read the article below:

It does not matter, if you are an elite athlete or if you just practice sport for fan or to keep fit and healthy yourself, recovery is a key factor. In fact, recovery is as important as training. To be able to perform, avoid injuries and do not burn out, everyone who practices sport has to be able to regenerate and recover. Some of the methods or ways that we use with our players and athletes will be shown in this post:

1) Sleep: Sleep is one of the most important aspects to recover. The science has shown that with a proper sleep tennis players get a 42% boost in hitting acuracy during depth drills, sleep extension provides swimmers a 17% improvement in reaction time off the starting block, sleep improves split-second decision making ability by 4.3%, american football players drop 0.1 seconds off their 40-yard dash times by sleeping more, and a 20-30 minutes power nap improves alertness by 100%.

On the contrary, the scientific studies has also shown that a chronic sleep loss can lead to a 30-40% reduction in glucose metabolism and an 11% reduction in time to exhaustion, 2 days of sleep restriction can lead to a 3x increase in lapses of attention and reactivity, the maximum bench press drops 20 lbs after 4 days of restricted sleep and perceived exertion increases 17-19% after 30 hours without sleep.

Therefore, with all the scientific evidence athletes should schedule proper recovery time and sleep to ensure optimum performance. Athletes will recover better from injuries if they sleep well and the choice of mattress is paramount for comfort and support. Not all mattresses will meet up to the demands as an aid to recovery. But a Falcon Sport Mattress has been designed with those needs and requirements in mind to help you get a deep sleep providing recovery and regeneration necessary to perform consistently at a high level.

2) Nutrition: Refuelling within an hour after training should be the priority for any athlete. You should try to take carbohydrate together with proteins. Your aim should be to a take a shake before even going into the shower. Vitamins and proteins are very important as well. Therefore, the sooner these are replaced the better.

3) Stretching: A stretching protocol as a part of your cool-down routine should be essential. The science has shown the stretching reduces muscle soreness and thightness. A stretching protocol as a part of a daily routine has been shown to also have performance improvements.

4) Foam rolling: A foam roller should never miss in your training venue or home. A foam rolling protocol after the stretching protocol should be performed in all your cool-downs. Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release tecnique that is used to inhibit overactive muscles. This form of stretching utilises the concept of autogenic inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility, thus relaxing the muscle and allowing the activation of the antagonist muscle. You should roll the foam roller under each muscle group until an tender area is found, and maintaining pressure on the tender areas (known as trigger points) for 30 to 60 seconds.

5) Contrast water therapy or contrast baths: They are a form of treatment where a limb is immersed in cold/ice water followed by the immediate immersion in warm water. The protocol is repetead several times, always alternating cold and hot. The theory behind this method is that cold water causes vasoconstriction while the warm water causes vasodilation. Alternating, hot and cold, lymph vessels dilate and contract to essentially “pump” and move stagnant fluid and waste out of the area. This positively effetcs the inflamation process, which is the body’s primary mechanism for healing damaged tissue. Professional athletes are using the state-of-the-art technology to improve their recovery. CryoSpas CET is a device used in professional sport enviroment based in the contrast water therapy. They recommend to set a temperature of 8-9º and perform the following protocol: 4 minutes in cold water, then 2 minutes hot water shower, and finally 4 minutes cold.

6) Compression clothing: Compression garments are pieces of clothing such as socks, pantyhose, sleeves, etc., that provide support that is especially useful for people who have to stand for long periods, or people with poor circulation. Compression garments worn on the legs can help prevent deep vein thrombosis and reduce swelling, especially while traveling. Compression sportswear are also worn by some athletes during exercise and post-exercise to ease muscle stiffness and quicken recovery time. Duffield & Portus (2007) found lower 24 hours post-exercise CK values and lower 24 hours post-exercise ratings of muscle soreness when wearing compression garments in cricket players. Based in the same principle, a device originally designed for people with deep vein thrombosis has been shown as an effective method to recover quicker and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) within 24 hours. The device (FireFly Recovery) uses electrical impulses to improve blood circulation. An increase in blood flow and velocity in the muscles of the lower legs allows oxygen to reach the muscle to remove the waste products more efficiently.

7) Massage: What to say about massage! Everyone knows that a good massage will improve our muscles recovery, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability, and promote relaxation and well-being. If you are an amateur sportman training every day, I would recommend you to receive a massage every 6 weeks. If you are struggling financially, although it is not the same, a good session of foam rolling can be an acceptable substitute.

8) NormaTec Recovery: This device is a new tool to improve recovery used (due to its price) in high performance athletes and teams. Basically, the device uses the concept of applying external compression to aid the body with its normal circulatory processes. NormaTec Recovery features Sequential Pulse Technology. This technology is divided into 6 phases starting the pulsing in zone one (foot) and finishing in zone 5 (thigh). When one zone is under the pressure the other zone releases. This dynamic compression strategy mimics normal physiology.

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