It's a word that is interpreted a number of ways. Some envision 'Recovery' as what you do after surgery or an illness.
For some there is a notion that recovery is overrated and is suggested by those who are 'too conservative.'
I've heard the notion that overtraining is a myth, and recovery happens on its own and without the need to scale down training intensity or utilize other approaches like manual therapy, massage, somatics like Feldenkrais, Yoga, or Pilates. In many circles, the word Recovery is never even addressed.
So, what's the deal? Is there a real need or benefit to recovery periods built into your training? What is a recovery period or recovery session anyway? For sake of not turning this blog post into a dissertation, we will stick to the basics. It should be mentioned that at this time, within many high level Professional & Olympic level sports, recovery is often included within a good strength and conditioning program, and this is often fostered by the 'team approach' that often exists in these settings where you have a multidisciplinary approach to athlete management.
Recovery is basically the period of adaptation and training effect that results from exposure to a workload in training or competition. What is important to keep in mind is that it's not simply just training that is necessary to improve physical capacities like power, endurance, speed, etc. It is also necessary to maximize the post-training/post-competition time period where the body is remodeling, repairing, and replenishing itself. What is done after the athlete trains or competes is just as important as the training itself, as the goal is to replenish what the body depleted during training and minimize fatigue. Athletes who do not use recovery strategies and stack training sessions closely together so that they are training on top of residual fatigue from the previous sessions are the ones who tend to develop injuries or maladaptation.
So what can be done? First, it starts with education. Educating athletes and coaches on the importance of recovery and what it is and is not is the first step. Recovery does not imply that the athlete has to have down time where they do nothing. What it does mean is that strategies are employed in the training program to vary the loading of the body and utilize variations in intensity, cross training, and disciplines like physical therapy. Post-training activities and movement sessions which get the body moving can be performed as an 'active recovery.' Emphasis on hydration, nutrition, and sleep are all important in maximizing the training effect and speeding the rate of recovery so that more workload can be tolerated by the athlete.
Training at a high level often results in musculoskeletal and neuromuscular stress which, if minimized and dealt with early on and on a regular basis, will allow for continued training at a consistent high level. Manual therapy and Dry Needling are two techniques that are utilized in my practice with great success.
The nuances of Manual therapy, Dry Needling, and the process of Monitoring Training Effect and the readiness of the athlete for the planned workload are beyond this blog post, as they are large topics in and of themselves, but will be addressed in my next few posts, so stay tuned!
Have questions or comments? I'd love to hear them!
Athletes Physiotherapy - Las Vegas, NV
Thank you for stopping by the Athletes Physiotherapy Blog! Kristopher Bosch founded Athletes Physiotherapy in Las Vegas, NV. He is a Father, physical therapist, athletic trainer, pilates teacher, & perpetual student!
EDGE Mobility System
John Rusin - StrengthDoc
Sue Falsone - S&F
Systemic Dry Needling