Ok, we're starting week three of the Frequent Flyer Challenge... You’re snuggled on the couch, right in the thick of the latest Game of Thrones drama and you can’t help but think about that foam roller staring you down from the corner of your living room. You could get up and spend the second half of the episode working through your IT band tightness, but that would mean you had to actually get up from under your warm, comfortably tucked blanket and get a little uncomfortable on the floor... So maybe tomorrow… I mean how much will it really matter anyway?...
Let me tell you. It matters. A lot.
We talk about mobility everyday in the studio, specifically ending each workout with a short session, to help expedite the immediate recovery process. However, those few minutes after class are not nearly enough to help your body recover and progress in the long term. Mobility and body maintenance are one of the key components in having longevity in health and fitness while having the biggest impact on injury prevention and movement mechanics.
If you have a roller and/or lacrosse ball or compression band but have no idea where to start, or maybe you are just now hearing about mobility and its amazing effects on training and recovery. We got you. We have laid out the most productive and actionable tips to help expedite your recovery process and make you feel faster, stronger and healthier both inside and out of the studio.
The Four Most Effective Ways to Stay Injury Free and Recover Fast.
First, you need to grab a lacrosse ball, foam roller, or something solid that you can dig into your tissues and muscles with. Then, find a place you are tight and start to add pressure while moving on the tool - long sweeping passes - or you can find a single trigger point and work through one area at a time. Two ways you can dig into specific sticky spots are with the pancake, rolling across, side to side; or the tac and floss, bend and straighten at the joint above or below the target area to apply more direct pressure. This may be painful or uncomfortable to start, but try and avoid going too deep right away as your body will tense up and defeat the purpose of compression, which ultimately is to break up tight muscle and scar tissue.
Gone are the days of bending over and touching your toes for 10 seconds to stretch the hamstrings. We now know that you must hold a position of restriction such as shin to wall or a hamstring stretch, for 2 minutes or more to actually have an effect or change the tissue. Dig in, pick 2-3 positions at a time to hydrate, stretch and work through the tissue in a manageable time frame.
Static vs. Dynamic Stretching
Avoid stretching out before a workout, race, or game. The kind of stretching we are referring to is called Static stretching, or the reach and hold, which in the long run doesn’t help with mobility and can actually decrease performance levels and lead to injury when done pre-training. You can read more on the effects of static stretching in a study published by the New York Time HERE.
Your warmup and mobility for a workout, race, or game should look a lot like what you are going to be doing for the workout, race, or game itself and this is called Dynamic stretching. This type of stretching involves full body movements that take you through a full range of motion, meaning you should be moving not holding a single position. If you are going to do a workout that requires a lot of squats or squat jumps, your warm up should contain air squats or lunges. If you are going to sprint and need a lot of hip range of motion, implement leg swings as a dynamic stretching warmup. This type of stretching has actually shown to make improvements in range of motion, speed, power, and performance.
Every time you release tissue and fascia you are ridding your body of toxins that are being released into your bloodstream. This is good! But it also means it is super important that you are continuing to flush out those toxins by drinking water before and more importantly after each mobility session. Last week, we touched on the importance of hydration and it will continue to be brought up in all aspects of your training regime. In regards, to nutrition and recovery, fish oil or Omega 3 fatty acids help with osteoarthritis while working to decrease inflammation in the joints. This type of fat is found in most cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, halibut and trout. The recommended amount of Omega 3 fatty acids is 6-8 oz of cold water, wild caught fish weekly, or four grams of fish oil from a reliable source on any day you don’t consume fish itself.