The CrossFit open is almost here. Most people will be one and done, but for some this means 2 maybe even 3 goes at the open WODs. What does this mean for you? Recovery is more important than ever. Along with the open, CrossFit competitions are becoming an almost monthly routine in the state of Hawai’i which makes recovery for competitors much more important than ever. This process can be the difference between over training and rapid strength loss and huge gains. If you follow these tips and tricks you will be on the road to recovery and the best possible set up for success. Recovery can be broken down into 2 main categories, muscle and central nervous system (CNS).
Muscle recovery is the easiest to manage, assuming proper nutrition. If the nutrition is lacking then the muscle will not have the available building blocks to recover. Another way to help is to create a better environment for the muscles to recover. As you work out muscle is broken down, with this break down there is a small, hopefully controlled inflammatory reaction. As the muscle heals itself byproducts are released into the air that change the pH balance in the muscles creating soreness. If we can flush these out it will create a better environment for healing. The ways to do this are by light flushing exercise, rolling, or use of compression like the VooDoo Band or NormaTec systems. Any time you are trying to create a system flush you should try to push everything to the heart.
Body weight exercises
These are a great way to get blood flow and push out any negative byproducts out. These movements should be slow and controlled. For all these we will go through lower body muscle recovery.
The goal with this is to improve blood flow and flush out the muscle.
The VooDoo band had 2 goals one is a flush which means wrap towards the body, the other is to get an active release of the muscles,
The other half and often the biggest mistake that I see with recovery after comps is continuing the same volume the week after a competition, even though the body is sore and most likely the CNS has been heavily taxed. This typically either leads to musculoskeletal injury or over training. I recommend a de-load week for the body to recover the week after. The day following a comp should be a relative rest day depending on soreness and typical training volume, light cardio is recommended to flush the body and start to reset the CNS. I like the rower due to the low impact and full body nature of it, but hiking, biking, light running, or low intensity WODs are ok as well. The movements of the competition should also play a part in what the de-load week looks like. If the competition was heavy leg oriented, put less stress on the legs and vice versa for if it was a shoulder intensive competition.
The CNS is the most over looked are of recovery and with consistent high intensity training and competitions.
Sleep has been consistently shown to be a must for a healthy life style, impacting everything from mental clarity and energy levels to chemical responses in the body. Recovery happens while we sleep in both the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. If we are short on sleep we will not get the recovery needed to regenerate properly.
This is simple, if we do not take in the necessary building blocks to regenerate our tissues or chemical signal pathways we do not recover properly. Quality also plays a factor.
Breathing can be a great part of any routine to reset the body and mind. There are many different forms of this category. From meditation which is very calming focused to Wim Hof breathing that is varied in depth and type. There are many other types of breathing exercises just as there are many forms of exercise. Find one that works for you and stay consistent.
Sleeping, eating, and performing some breath exercises are an easy way to decrease stress. Prolonged stress has many different negative effects on the body. Increased cortisol levels is one, some of the many symptoms of this are increased fatigue, weight gain with associated increased fatty tissue deposits, muscle weakness and cognitive difficulties. Taking some small steps to decrease stress can lead a long way to help with overall health and body recovery.