Recovery and regeneration strategies have become a hot topic in the fitness world as of late, but there’s a lot more misinformation than anything else. In this week’s episode of 8WeeksOut U, I’ll share with you the details of why, when and how to use different recovery strategies to get the best results.
What are Recovery & Regeneration Strategies?
Generally speaking, the idea behind using different methods of recovery and regeneration is to “speed up” the process of recovery between training sessions and/or competitions.
Everything from EMS, to cyrotherapy, to soft tissue work and light workouts have become relatively commonplace in the training programs of many different athletes.
The real question, however, is whether or not such strategies are necessary, or even a good idea?
…And if they are useful, which methods should be used and how often should they be used?
When NOT to Use Recovery Methods…
The first thing to understand is that different methods of recovery and regeneration should absolutely NOT be used all the time.
The goal of training is to stimulate adaptation and in many ways, trying to minimize the after affects of training as much as possible can often lead to dimished results.
The trace effects of training are important for maximizing the body’s adaptive drive towards supercompensation.
In other words, don’t overuse recovery and regeneration methods if the goal is to get the best results from your training.
The Right Time to Speed up the Process
The most appropriate times to use different recovery and regeneration techniques are either A) when autonomic balance needs to be restored and B) when maximum performance needs to be achieved on a specific date, i.e. because of a competition.
This means you should really only use such methods to prevent going too far into an overreaching state and to peak for a competition, especially during a brutal competitive season with weekly, or even more frequent, competitions.
In such cases, it’s important to use different methods to help the body return to a state where it’s physically ready to perform at the highest levels.
Individualizing Recovery Methods
Aside from making sure you choose the right time to use recovery and regeneration methods, the next most important factor is to make sure to select the right recovery method for the job.
When the body is in a chronically sympathetic state, you need to choose methods that stimulate parasympathetic function and reduce sympathetic drive.
Such methods will help restore autonomic balance and prevent the cascade of negative effects that accompany prolongued exposure to stress hormones.
Using HRV is the real key to being able to individualize which recovery methods should be used. This is hugely important because using the wrong method can actually make things worse and slow down the process rather than speed it up.