10 Best Muscle Recovery Techniques for Athletes
A look at several excellent muscle recovery techniques for athletes that are designed to minimize the amount of downtime required.
For athletes, muscles are the foundation on top of which all success is built. Without strong muscles, it is impossible for any athlete to achieve the highest level of performance in their chosen field.
One of the biggest obstacles to improving muscle strength and increasing athletic performance is muscle recovery, the process in which muscles receive nutrients and repair themselves after intense use. While some recovery time will always be necessary for human muscles, there are several excellent muscle recovery techniques for athletes that are designed to minimize the amount of downtime that the muscles require. This means that an athlete has more time to spend improving their skills at their chosen sport.
“One of the biggest obstacles to improving muscle strength and increasing athletic performance is muscle recovery.”
Stretching is among the best muscle recovery techniques for athletes because it improves the flow of blood to the muscles that are being stretched. In this way, it speeds up the recovery process by allowing the muscles to more readily receive the nutrients they need. Another valuable benefit of stretching is that it can improve the range of motion of a specific muscle, which means it is not only one of the great muscle recovery techniques for athletes, but that it can also help an athlete improve their flexibility and performance.
There are a few different types of stretches that are best for athletes. Two of the most common types are static stretching, which extends the muscle group to a particular point and holds it for a given amount of time, and dynamic stretching, which involves movement and works more than one muscle. These various stretches can each be beneficial for recovery in different ways.
Get Enough Rest
Although many competitive athletes aren’t fond of the idea of limiting their activity, adequately resting muscles that are being worked out is one of the most critical muscle recovery techniques for athletes. When the body is asleep, it goes through several important processes that repair muscle tissue and restores balance to the rest of the body. Sleep is especially important for those athletes who want to improve their muscle mass; some medical specialists believe that a lack of sleep can actually contribute to the loss of muscle mass, based on the hormonal changes that occur while a person is asleep.
Even the most elite athletes in the world do not neglect their sleep. Tennis legend Roger Federer is known to sleep between ten and twelve hours a night, as does basketball star LeBron James. In late 2014 it was reported that three-time Super Bowl champion, NFL quarterback Tom Brady, goes to bed at 8:30 PM each night to make sure he can get enough sleep to wake up early and work on his skills.
Improving Blood Flow
The nutrients contained in the body’s blood are important because they eventually get sent to muscles that are recovering, allowing them to begin the process of restoring muscle fibers to make them stronger than they were before. Without sufficient blood flow, muscles will not receive these important building blocks, ultimately limiting their growth. Some of the muscle recovery techniques for athletes that can help contribute to blood flow include stretching and maintaining a diet of healthy foods that do not contribute to blocked arteries or veins.
Another great way to make sure that blood flow is sufficient is through cardiovascular exercise such as running, swimming, walking, or biking. Research shows that cardiovascular exercise can help reduce blood pressure, and it can also remove bad cholesterols from the blood that can end up narrowing your bloodstream. This is one of the main reasons that most athletes decide to incorporate cardiovascular exercise into their routines, even if they are focusing on strength training.
Getting a Massage
Many athletes get massages frequently to alleviate tense muscles,so their bodies feel better and don’t give them as much pain.Receiving a massage can be one of the best muscle recovery techniques for athletes because it helps make the biological process of muscle recovery more efficient. In a post on The New York Times’ blog entitled Well, scientific research showed that people who received a massage had lower levels of cytokines, a compound that causes inflammation, and higher levels of mitochondria activity, which helps convert glucose into the energy that is important for cell repair.
Remember, if you are an athlete looking for recovery through massage, you don’t need to go to a professional each and every time. Learning a few different massage techniques and applying them yourself after a workout or competition can help you get many of the great benefits of massage without having to make an appointment with a massage therapist. There are plenty of massage products on the market as well, which are designed to work specific areas.
Eating Enough Protein
Getting the protein that is needed by the body is extremely important for muscles to recover, since protein is made up of some of the essential amino acids that the body needs to successfully repair and build up the fibers of the muscles. The reason that protein is so important for muscle recovery is because, after intense resistance exercise, the body increases its rates of protein synthesis and breakdown as the process of muscle recovery begins. Unless more protein is put into the body to help adjust for this accelerated rate of synthesis, it can lead to the loss of muscle mass. The best sources of protein are lean meats and fish that do not contain an excessive amount of fat, such as chicken and tuna. Nuts and beans are great protein options as well.
So, how much protein is needed for athletes to ward off loss of muscle due to elevated levels of protein synthesis? There is no single answer, but a range of 0.6 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight is generally an acceptable amount. Many athletes supplement their regular diets with drinks or snack bars packed with protein so that they can keep their levels high enough to help their muscles recover and grow larger.
Drinking Enough Water
Water is important for many of our bodily functions; it is no wonder, when you consider that most scientists agree that the average adult human body is 55 to 60% water. While most athletes already know that staying hydrated is important during performance or training sessions, some may forget that drinking water is one of the best muscle recovery techniques for athletes today. This is because drinking water helps fill up the cells and prevent them from falling victim to protein synthesis. Hydration is also important for facilitating digestion, so that the body can receive all of the nutrients that are needed for proper recovery. Water helps contribute to a healthy digestive process.
The standard suggestion for water consumption each day is 64 ounces or about half a gallon. However, some athletes may need to drink more than that to be adequately hydrated. A good tip for drinking enough water each day is to take a reusable water bottle with you to work or school so that you can space out your water drinking and maintain hydration throughout the day.
Consuming Coconut Products
Why are coconuts considered valuable to the muscle recovery process? There are a few common reasons why coconut-based drinks and foods have become so popular with today’s athletic community. First, coconut products contain compounds known as medium-chain triglycerides, which are fats that the body can absorb into the bloodstream more easily than other types. This makes it an ideal form of fuel for the muscle recovery process.
Coconut water is becoming a popular alternative to traditional sports drinks for athletes, because of its effectiveness at restoring hydration after a workout. Coconut water contains electrolytes and plenty of potassium, which means that it is one of the best muscle recovery techniques for athletes who want to reduce their downtime between workouts. Many athletes have decided to stop drinking the traditional sports drinks on the market in favor of coconut-based juices and water drinks.
Rolling Your Muscles
Rolling your muscles is a great way to release tension in your body by removing knots in areas like the legs, arms, and sides. This can be done with a specialized foam roller, a medicine ball, or other similar devices that are meant to move easily along the muscles. There are different kinds of techniques employed for muscle rolling depending on the areas and specific muscles that need to be rolled.
When you roll your muscles, it results in better flexibility and less painful movement of the muscles in question, because you break up tightness and knots that cause stiffness and pain. Muscle rolling is one of the great muscle recovery techniques for athletes because it helps restore range of motion and eliminate the tightness and pain that often comes with inflammation as a result of intense competitions or training sessions. Muscle rolling is also a good recovery technique because it gives you more control over the specific areas that you target for recovery, which can provide highly effective relief.
Spacing Out Your Routine
Most serious athletes have some type of routine set up that alternates between conditioning, which gives the body strength to complete the necessary athletic actions, and practicing, where the athlete works on improving skills that they use in their sport.
No matter what kind of routine or split athletes decide to engage in, it is important that enough time is left for rest. This is particularly true for those athletes who engage in a lot of strength training, as muscles that are trained intensively will need at least 24 to 48 hours of recovery before they should be trained again. If an athlete neglects to properly account for rest days in their routine, it can negatively impact performance since the target muscles will be overworked. For this reason, most athletes decide to vary the days on which they train different muscles. The specific amount of rest that each of your muscles needs will vary depending on your body and your specific schedule, as well as how long you have been training.
Using Recovery Techniques
Thanks to forward-thinking specialists, many devices have been created over the years using technology to assist athletes with their muscle recovery.
Tools like the Marc Pro and Marc Pro Plus take advantage of natural biology to give athletes a recovery boost. These products work through electrical muscle stimulation, which elicits a muscle contraction through the use of a gentle electric pulse. This muscle contraction helps to improve the way nutrients are delivered into recovering muscles, and waste from the recovery process is delivered out of the muscles. The Marc Pro Plus is also a valuable pain relief tool; the contractions can help improve the flow of blood into a muscle that is stiff or sore, which allows the muscles to relax and recover faster.
Whether you are dealing with pain or simply want to help improve your recovery time between workouts, electrical muscle stimulation is one of the best options available. Electrical muscle stimulation is especially valuable as one of the best muscle recovery techniques for athletes because it is completely customizable. Adjusting the intensity levels on the Marc Pro and Marc Pro Plus devices, you can control exactly how strong the impulses are so that you get the stimulation that works best for your body.
Although recovery might not be the most exciting part of what an athlete does, it is still a critical element of making sure that the body is in sufficient shape to compete and train properly. Without effective recovery, muscle growth and athletic performance will both be limited. In the worst situations, this may even lead to a muscle strain or injury. Following these muscle recovery techniques for athletes will help you do a better job of recovering, which will minimize your downtime so that you can devote more of your time to getting better at your chosen sport.