It’s the middle of December as this is being written and we’re in the middle of the offseason, which means a pretty heavy training schedule. The bulking phase is slowly turning into the strength/speed, explosive phase and athletes are starting to notice a little more fatigue following their workouts and a subsequent lack of recovery/get-up-and-go leading into their next training session. There are many ways to improve this recovery process and I’ll be going over a more psychological/neural approach towards recovery.
Let’s set the scene really quick. Music is blaring, teammates are shouting at you trying to motivate you to make the next big lift that you sort of doubt you’ll be able to do, adrenaline is at an all-time high right now. The sympathetic nervous system is in full force and it’s a necessity to even come close to getting that weight up. Your body is entering a pseudo fight or flight state. So not only are you muscles breaking down, but your body’s immune system is taking a beating as well. The fix for that is to enter into a parasympathetic state (rest and digest).
Sometimes a cool down (foam rolling, stretching, etc.) isn’t enough to significantly enter into a parasympathetic state. A great way to achieve this is to take slow controlled breaths. In through the nose, into the belly (diaphragm), and out through the mouth. A technique called box breathing is also another great way to achieve this. Box breathing is where you inhale through the nose for 4 seconds, hold that air in for 4 seconds, exhale out the mouth for 4 seconds, hold that exhale for 4 seconds, and repeat for ideally 4 minutes. Another way to get into a parasympathetic state is meditation. Don’t be intimidated or put off by the fact you’ve never meditated before. The apps Calm and Headspace are free and will guide and teach you how to do it. It’s shown that 10 minutes a day of mindfulness meditation can have multiple benefits on the body and mind.
If you’re interested in rehabbing an injury or improving your body’s capacity to resist injury, let Gestalt Performance take care of you. We have an office in Troy, MO at Winchester Spine and Sport as well as Eureka, MO at Comprehensive Chiropractic. For more information like this, follow Gestalt Performance on Facebook, Twitter, or Instragram.
Keep working hard,
Gestalt Performance co-founder