Rest

Recovery Techniques You Haven’t Tried

When it comes to reaching your fitness goals – whether it’s to get stronger, faster, or leaner – you have to put as much emphasis on recovery as you do on actually working out. Maybe you already know that – and you prioritize sleep and get those eight hours a night, and you even see a massage therapist every few months when you’re in training mode. But, there are some less obvious techniques for recovery you may not (yet!) be taking advantage of.

These days, you can sit in a vat of air chilled to sub zero temps (AKA cryotherapy). You can alternatively sit in a super-hot sauna to “relieve aches and pains stemming from overuse, strain, or repetitive motion,” per HigherDOSE, an infrared sauna spa in New York City. You can hop on an AlterG Anti-Gravity treadmill where you run at a certain percentage of your bodyweight (allowing your muscles to get some active recovery). You can run on an underwater treadmill. You can slip your legs into NormaTec sleeves – and let them compress your muscles and joints, helping to speed up recovery.

Basically, there are tons of surprising ways to recover in 2017 – whether they’re actually “new” or instead ancient practices reentering the zeitgeist (looking at you, cupping!)

Still, many of these methods are inaccessible or unaffordable for many of us athletes. We talked to the experts at EXOS to get some surprising recovery techniques that you can do at home – (practically) free of charge!

TRIGGER POINT THERAPY

Recovery Techniques You Haven't Tried

By now, you’ve probably at least heard of foam rolling. (No? Read our foam rolling guide.) Trigger point therapy is similar, but “while foam rolls are often used for big muscle groups, trigger point therapy with a simple tennis ball can target hard-to-reach smaller areas of the body,” explains Kerry Greer, an expert with EXOS.

You can use the ball to work out trigger points or “knots” in the muscles that cause stiffness and limit mobility – causing that post-workout tightness, she explains. This helps your body to being the recovery process.

You can do the following movements (focused on three common “problem” areas) as often as every day. “For each rep, get in the recommended position and work through your muscle with the tennis ball for 20 to 30 seconds – don’t forget to switch sides and repeat,” Greer Instructs.

Coaching Keys

  • Maintain pressure throughout the massage.
  • The more uncomfortable it is, the more it needs to be massaged.
  • Spend more time on any sore spots that you find.
  1. Arch Rolls

Roll the ball back and forth on the arch of your foot focusing on the tender areas. To increase the pressure here you can use a golf ball.

  1. Hip Flexors

Lie facedown with a ball under the front of your hip. Adjust your position on the ball until you find a sore point. Holding pressure on this spot, slowly bend and extend your knee to help release tension.

  1. Pecs

Lie on your back and press the tennis ball against your pec just above your armpit with your opposite hand. Once you find a sore spot, hold the pressure on this spot, slide your free hand overhead and back down.

ACTIVE ISOLATED STRETCHING WITH A STRETCH ROPE

Recovery Techniques You Haven't Tried

We’re betting you haven’t heard of this one yet. In Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), you use a rope to gently assist in pulling your muscle a little farther than your body would ordinarily allow (in fact, you can increase your ROM by 6-10 degrees with the rope!)

“This is key because it helps reprogram your brain to remember this new range of motion so it can remind your muscles the next time you stretch or play or lift weights,” explains Greer.

AIS is also great for recovery since it’s a more active form of stretching (compared to static stretching where you’d hold one position for up to 30 seconds).

Try the following three movements at the end of a workout or when you’re sitting at home in front of the TV. You can do them every day if you have the time.

Coaching Keys

  • Move actively through your normal range of motion and exhale as you gently assist with the rope.
  • The rope should add no more than 6 to 10 percent to your range of motion.

Adductor Stretch (Rope)

Lie on your back with a rope around one foot, wrapped around the inside of your ankle. Hold the ends of the rope in your hand on the same side as the roped leg.

Lift your leg as far to the side as possible. Then give gentle assistance with the rope until you feel a stretch. Hold for 2 seconds. Relax and return to starting Position.

Straight Leg Hamstring Stretch (Rope)

Straight Leg Hamstring Stretch (Rope)

Lie on your back with your legs straight and a rope wrapped around the foot of one leg. Holding the ends of the rope in your hands, lift the roped leg as high as possible, and then give gentle assistance with the rope until you feel a stretch. Hold for 2 seconds. Relax and return to starting Position.

Abductor Stretch (Rope)

Abductor Stretch (Rope)

Lie on your back with a rope around one foot, wrapped around the outside of your ankle. Hold the ends of the rope in your opposite hand with your free hand out to the side. Lift your leg to the side of your body as far as possible. Then give gentle assistance with the rope until you feel a stretch. Hold for 2 seconds. Relax and return to the starting position.

Triceps/Shoulder Stretch (Rope)

Triceps/Shoulder Stretch (Rope)

Stand holding a rope behind your head with one hand and behind your lower back with the other hand.With the upper hand, reach down your back and give gentle assistance with your lower hand. Exhale and hold for 2 seconds. Next, reach your lower hand up your back and give gentle assistance with the upper hand. Exhale and hold for 2 seconds.