Muscle Repair and Muscle Recovery
Between workouts, it is important for you to take time to allow your muscles to recover. To optimise your training and achieve the muscle building goals you’ve been working so hard to accomplish you must allow your muscles to recover. Recovery is not falling into your nearest easy chair glued to your TV. Nor is it, allowing yourself the indulgences you’ve kept away from in order to achieve your goals. Serious planning for your off days is as important as the time you put in at the gym. In a recent article for Men’s Fitness Magazine, BJ Gaddour, C.S.C.S and owner of StreamFit.com does the rundown of his favourite “Off Day Muscle Repair and Recovery Tips”. Within his top 4 there is no reference to a hot bath, or putting up your feet. He suggests to keep the body limber and mobile with a few low-intensity movements. They don’t take long, and will not only assist with the pain and soreness, but help strengthen your future workouts by increasing lubrication and nourishment to joints and muscle tissue.
Muscle Repair & Recovery Tip #1
Promote circulation – Move those stiff joints.
Even if its your day off you must continue to stay limber. Do some low-intensity circles with your arms, wrists and knees. Just taking the time to do this increases the supply of fresh synovial fluids to your joint areas. Synovial fluids nourish, lubricate, and hydrate these areas, whilst removing any waste and scar tissue. It is advised to rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise so as to prevent overuse injuries as well as minimise imbalances. Make sure you do not hyperextend with this exercise. Circles should keep small and tight so there is no additional stress applied to your joints.
Muscle Repair & Recovery Tip #2
Reduce muscle tension – Use a foam roller
It is common to feel pain tightness and pain after a workout. What has been found helpful for many is the use of a long, semi-soft foam tube with which to give your muscles a massage. “Foam rolling breaks up scar tissue and knotting in your fascia, which—if left unattended—can lead to nagging aches and pains in your joints,” says Gaddour. It only takes 30-60 seconds, though you can spend more time if you desire. The best time to use foam rolling is at wake time, before bed and sometime during the day.
Muscle Repair & Recovery Tip #3
Isometrics is defined as gentle, controlled stretching and strength-building movements. When you stretch and hold positions for longer periods of time, you are still engaging your muscles, but at a lower intensity. These types of exercises allow the blood and nutrients to rebuild your body for the next high intensity session you have scheduled.
Muscle Repair & Recovery Tip #4
Increase mobility with the overhead squat
Certainly, you may be hurting on your off days, but if you can master the overhead squat (the king of mobility exercises) you will improve your future workouts by leaps and bounds. The overhead squat strengthens your joints to such a degree that there is a marked improvement of your ability to bear more weight in the gym. It also helps promote blood flow to battle the pain you feel post workout.
Instructions for the Overhead Squat
With hands and feet shoulder-width apart, take a resistance band at both ends and extend your arms straight above your head (overhead). Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed (down and back). Using a resistance band assists you in getting the posture correct. It also keeps the back muscles aligned. Squat down on your heels until your hamstrings are touching the calves. Keep the hips pushed back when squatting. Hold this position for five seconds. Push knees out and stand up quickly, powering the move through the heels. Perform the Overhead Squat 3 times a day., 5-10 reps. This will increase mobility in the tightest areas of your body.