Rethinking Recovery

After you finish working/training the rest should be easy or is it? There is certainly an increased awareness of the role that recovery plays in training. After all it is during the recovery and rest period that the adaptation to training takes place. That is precisely why I think we need to rethink some things that are going on now in terms of the application of recovery modalities and therapies. We need to think about what we are trying to achieve with hot/cold contrast baths, ice baths, massage etc; what I see happening now with recovery, is the same mistake I have seen made in training. If we throw enough stuff at the body it will get better. More is not better in training or recovery. The goal of training is to stimulate adaptation to the training stimulus. Different training stimuli adapt at different rates. The body has a natural healing response to injury or to training of which the inflammatory phase is the initial response. I wonder that if by some of the indiscriminant application of recovery modalities if we are not inhibiting the natural inflammatory response which triggers the body’s natural recovery cascade. I have no research to back this up, just my gut feeling and experience, but it is something we really need to look at. For example during a general block of training where there is no competition and the amount of technical and tactical work is low would it be better to leave the body alone and let it repair itself? Would we get a better adaptative response? Use the modalities later in different phases when the athlete is trying to get an edge. These are just my thoughts, your thoughts and reactions would be appreciated. As you know I am not one to follow the crowd and this definitely is in opposition to what is being accepted as conventional wisdom.


At 10/4/06, 11:31 AM, Anonymous Will Kirousis said...

A physiology professors I still communicate with is fond of saying: "evolution took millions of years, your not going to change in a couple days".

I think this is very true with training "systems" many athletes implement today.

How do we know that the natural inflamatory process - which EVOLVED as part of our bodies way of slowing us down after a stress to allow healing to occur - is not an integral part in the adaptive response to training? We dont.

Could it be that by trying to stamp out this inflamation earlier we prevent some chemical action that generates greater adaptation?

Could it be that by trying to use many many many recovery modalities we create a false sense of security and false sense of what is real and should be expected in/of an athlete?

I think to a degree, some folks look at rest as:
A. A hindrance to doing there sport and getting stuff done.
B. Something to simple to allow guru status to continue. (you dont feel like a guru telling someone to get some extra sleep, eat well, and no training for X time)

Rest is not build around workouts - rest and workouts are built together FOR the individual. You can not FAKE rest. It simply takes time.

At 10/4/06, 11:35 AM, Blogger Joe P. said...

This is an interesting topic. Some of the newer modalities such as ECST & Prolotherapy actually incease the inlammatory response. The problem with these modalities is the healing time is generally longer than traditional methods. Longer than the time constraints of the usual sports season would allow. It's hard to put this stuff through the scientific method because "recovery" is subjective.

At 10/4/06, 12:27 PM, Anonymous pmchugh said...

I have become a big believer in rest for all levels of athletics. As a high school AD, I am always struggling with the issue of getting rest for teams and trying to fulfill conference and state scheduling minimums. For example there are many weeks when many high schools schedule three or four soccer games in the same week. I have tried to limit our schedule to only two games a week because we play better when we have had enough rest between games, but that has become increasingly difficult to keep a cap on. I wish we could alternate weeks between a two game week and a one game week. I am a beleiver that this kind of schedule is saner for all sorts of reasons for high school athletes. But when high school athletes come out of travel team programs that play 30 games -- a 12-15 game schedule seems not very serious.

At the same time, I am also interested in the advances that good therapists have made over time -- A lot of which has been ignored by tradtional medicine. 20 years ago I was told to stop running and start swimming because of chronic overuse injuries by supposedly top sports medicine doctors. I have found PT's, Massage Therapists, and Chiropractors so much more open minded then traditional MD's when it comes to healing athletic injuries. Because of these therapists, I have been able to overcome all sorts of self inflicted abuse from running. That has led me to be much less trustful of the answers MD's give for sports related injuries. I am tired of doctors saying "rest for six weeks then come back and see me. Oh by the way that will be $300". It just seems like an MD with all their training should be able to offer more to an athlete. So I am all for rest, but at the same time there has got to be a middle ground on the issue of recovery.

At 10/4/06, 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post on recovery and you bring up some very interesting points of view.

Here is another thought:

Instead of focusing on all of these new recovery strategies to band-aid up the over-exerted athletes, why don't we look to take away something negative that is already happening within the training process first.

By doing this we can have an immediate effect on fatigue and recovery on the back-end of training.

Put another way, instead of looking to add another positive recovery measure to an already existing problem, let's first take away a negative in the present situation!!!

Keep it coming Vern!

At 10/4/06, 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RonB. said
Vern, Great question.As I see high school athletes on a regular basis in are P.T. clinic, these athletes definitely need the basics. PROPER WARM-UP ROUTINE. This in it self would decrease the overall recovery time.


Post a Comment

<< Home