How to run faster, run longer and jump higher with smarter recovery steps! – Part 2

Following the cardio flush for lactic acid, ten minutes of self-myofacial release (foam rolling) should be done on a hard foam roller from head to toe to bring muscles back to their optimal length (the term is called optimal length tension relationship in muscles) and is another critical key to recovery. Athletes need to be shown how to do this correctly. Foam rolling is like eating an orange….there is some crappy stuff to get through (i.e. the orange peel) before you get to the sweet stuff and the benefits! In a similar manner, there is often a level of healthy soreness to push through when foam rolling, but the benefits to muscle recovery and overall regeneration of the joints and connective tissue are EXCELLENT. Foam rolling truly represents a simple and underutilized secret to faster recovery and thus how to jump higher and run faster in that all-important next game or high intensity training session. The other great thing about foam rolling is that foam rollers are inexpensive (as are the programs you can buy or download to learn how to foam roll), making this important recovery protocol easy and cost-effective.

run faster

Following foam rolling, static stretching should be completed depending on soreness levels for 5-10 minutes (again, athletes need to be shown how to static stretch correctly).

An additional point is that most teams and programs do not have 15 bikes hanging around for post workout cardio flushes, but if you have just a few, it is a good idea to have some of the athletes start out with foam rolling while others start on the bike and then the entire team can static stretch together as a larger group.

Athletes need to be encouraged to hydrate in the 3 hour period following the game and practice so that their urine is light yellow or even almost totally clear urine vs. the dark yellow which demonstrates dehydration.

There should never technical be an ‘off day’ of ‘rest,’ but rather an ‘active rest’ day where athletes come in for their cardio flush, foam roll release and static stretch sessions (in that order) – total time = about 30-35 minutes.

Finally the correct ratios of fats (ie polyunsaturates vs. monounsaturates vs. saturates), proteins (the higher the Biological value or ‘BV’ value for the protein, the more the body will assimilate and use) and complex carbs, are also important for recovery and strength gains. The duration of the exercise or game, the caloric/metabolic/unique dietary needs of the athlete, the body composition of the athlete, and the position and sport of the athlete all play into the make-up of post-game nutrition. The goal of this final point is not to attempt the task (or I should say the almost impossible task!) of listing sample post-game meal plans for athletes of every different shape, size, needs, age groups and sports, but rather to stimulate critical thinking about the post-game meal and to emphasize the importance of the post-game meal is one important piece of an overall multi-pronged recovery plan.

Please click here for the first part of the article.

About the author:

Spencer Wood PhD (ABD), MS, BA, BS, NSCA-CSCS, NASM-PES, is an internationally renowned speaker and dynamic trainer of athletes and coaches in the area of Winning Mental Skills & Toughness Training and Explosive Speed, Agility & Quickness Training. Spencer has worked with a number of Olympic programs, in professional leagues such as the NBA and consults with a number of championship collegiate programs in the SEC, Big East, Big Ten, Big Twelve and ACC. His SPEED-PACKS explosive speed training equipment and DVD instructs athletes of all ages how to jump higher and how to run faster.

In addition, Spencer’s EDGE Mental Toughness Drills DVD Series continues to impact the lives and careers of 1000’s of athletes and coaches of all ages from middle school to the professional ranks. For reviews and success stories of how SPEED-PACKS and the EDGE Mental Toughness DVD Series has impacted athletes and teams across the Globe.

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