In any sport, finding balance during any phase of training is hard, especially during the In-season. Long practices with an intense game schedule can overwhelm any athlete physically and mentally. With this in mind, “Rest Days” it seems, would be best served with a heavy dose of sleep and netflix. This might suffice for the weekend warrior, but for a competitive athlete, these precious occasions must be maximized in order to gain what they yearn for – The Edge.
What is Active Recovery?
The idea of Active Recovery is to keep the body active and engaged during a recovery period, where training volume and intensity is reduced by 30-50%. Active Recovery can actually reduce the length of recovery, decrease delayed on-set muscle soreness (DOMS) and residual fatigue by promoting blood flow and myofascial release. This time can also be served as a mental break, while focusing on prehabilitation for the purpose of injury reduction.
What to do?
Dynamic Stretching – Stretching dynamically (in rapid movements) or against resistance is the most effective method to increase flexibility and range of motion while promoting the explosiveness of a muscle fibre.
Technical Work – Certain exercises (olympic lifts, agility, skills work) requires a high level of technical prolificacy. As such, a reduced load and volume will help to facilitate the development of these skills.
Prehabilitation Exercises – These exercises are design to strengthen weak or more vulnerable areas in an athlete’s body that are more prone to injury – wrist, ankle, rotator cuff, groin, neck.
Yoga – This is an excellent tool to improve body control and awareness, while promoting proper breathing patterns and flexibility.
Play Another Sport – Go have fun – rattle the batting cage, shoot a few hops, hit the links or go out for a hike. Whatever you need to do to be active while taking time off from your primary sport. Enjoy yourself!