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NEWS

Recovery for an Elite Athlete

By starttraining | In Education, News | on September 21, 2019

Recovery is one of those ‘athlete life problems’ that constantly comes up. We see a lot of athletes come through the clinic who say ‘I don’t have time to stretch post training’ or ‘I got to training late so I didn’t have time to mobilise properly.’ The real truth of the matter is you don’t have time not to!

Trust me, I get it, there have definitely been times where I have just left the track and not stretched or skipped part of my mobility warm up because I couldn’t be bothered. However, what I have learnt is that my performance both physically and mentally improves when I take a little more care of my body.

So here it is, here is a run down on the recovery mechanisms I use throughout my week and what I have found is the most efficient way to fit it into your schedule! If you can’t get access to massage or physio treatment there are plenty of other self-management strategies you can use!

So, if I showed you in total the number of hours I spent on mobility/recovery each week it probably wouldn’t look like much, or who knows if you’re ‘that athlete’ it could look overwhelming. However, I have found a recipe that works for me and my body which is both time efficient and effective. The key to staying healthy as an athlete is staying on top of niggles as soon as you notice them. Which means CONSISTENCY IS KEY!

Alright, here is my week and then we can discuss what it all means and why it’s important after this!

Monday:

AM:

GYM

  • Pre session, voodoo banding, dynamic mobility, pre-engagement
  • Post session – stretching 10-15min

AM: Post Gym

  • MASSAGE – 1 hour (Northside Remedial Massage – North lakes; Fabian Misso: 0403223302)

PM:

Running Session

  • Pre session, trigger release, voodoo banding, dynamic mobility, pre-engagement
  • Post Session – Jog Cool Down, 10-15min Passive Stretching

TUESDAY:

AM: Running Session

  • Pre session, trigger release, voodoo banding, dynamic mobility, pre-engagement
  • Post Session – Jog Cool Down, 10-15min Passive Stretching

PM: Gymnastics

  • Post session: Passive Stretching

WEDNESDAY:

PV – Jump Day

  • Pre session, trigger release, voodoo banding, dynamic mobility, pre-engagement
  • Post Session – Jog Cool Down, 10-15min Passive Stretching

THURSDAY:

AM: Gym Session

  • Pre session, voodoo banding, dynamic mobility, pre-engagment
  • Post session – stretching 10-15min

PM:

  • Physio – Treatment
    • Dry Needling on whatever hurts
    • Manual Therapy – Can include joint mobs, manipulation, trigger point (whatever is necessary really that I am having trouble managing myself)

FRIDAY:

AM: Massage – 45min

PM: PV – Jump Session

  • Pre session, trigger release, voodoo banding, dynamic mobility, pre-engagement
  • Post Session – Jog Cool Down, 10-15min Passive Stretching

SATURDAY – REST DAY

SUNDAY – PV – Jump Session

AM:

  • Pre session, trigger release, voodoo banding, dynamic mobility, pre-engagement
  • Post Session – Jog Cool Down, 10-15min Passive Stretching

PM:

  • ICE BATH/EPSON SALTS bath

OK, so yeah it really does look like a lot but don’t be overwhelmed because like I said consistency is key. If I could give you 5 tips to staying on top of your recovery to stay injury free this is what they would be!

  • PASSIVE STRETCHING: You may have noticed I don’t do any static stretching before my sessions! Well let me impart some wisdom! Somewhere along the line someone thought it would be a great idea to do static stretching before a training session… well please listen carefully. NOT A GOOD IDEA! Passive stretching prior to training actually decreases force output of the muscle. There’s a really big tangent I could go on about length-tension relationship of the muscle and the relationship between actin and myosin cross-bridges but I’ll spare you that 3 hours of light reading and tell you what you really need to know. Basically, passive stretching is very effective after your session to return tight muscles post training back to an efficient resting length, but prior training actually decreases performance of the muscle.
  • MASSAGE – I can’t explain to you how important it is to get regular massage. Sometimes you don’t feel like you need it but, let me tell you, you do! There are a few key benefits here that I like to take advantage of! Firstly, massage is effective in stress relief and immune system support. As an athlete there are a lot of stressors going on related to competition, performance, life balance and whatever else is happening. With the ongoing stresses placed on the body, look after yourself and recover with a massage. Let’s not forget the obvious, injury prevention, greater muscular range of motion, improved oxygen and nutrient transport to the muscles. If you are not getting regular massage, get on that! I see Fabian Misso at Northside Sports Remedial Massage, 0403223302, highly recommended!
  • VOODOO BANDING – This is like the god of time efficient mobility. If you are not familiar with voodoo banding it will change your life. It’s has a similar effect to foam rolling but it’s way quicker. By wrapping the muscle tightly with a band and moving through concentric and eccentric contractions, you can release the fascia surrounding the muscle and allow it to move free’er increasing range of motion. Probably takes about 2min to do and has an amazing effect on your range!
  • TRIGGER POINT RELEASE – ok this is one of those really effective mechanisms when used AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME! So, in quite basic terms the mechanism behind trigger point therapy is about finding small areas of tightly contracted muscle and releasing them off. However, here is the kicker, when you trigger a muscle, you yes release the muscle but also DISENGAGE the muscle. Therefore, trust me when I say trigger point mid training session is a terrible idea! If you are going to trigger point before a session, this is great, but you must then re-engage the muscle prior to your session. You are going to create some serious problems if you trigger a muscle mid sprint session!
  • ICE BATH – Yeah, not much else really needs to be said here, it’s super effective when you are competing over multiple days. It’s not the funnest experience but you feel amazing afterwards! You can also use EPSON salts warm baths, these are also great for that standard athlete muscle ache and recovery.

So if you are a bit overwhelmed, here is a bit of a crash course in what to use when! This is by no means the only way to do it, but based on my experience it seems to be fairly effective.

  • Pre-Session
    • Voodoo banding
    • Trigger Point – but then you must re-engage muscle
    • Dynamic stretching and mobility (leg swings, knee rolls, calf pumps etc.)
    • Pre-engagement
  • Mid – Session
    • Voodoo
    • Dynamic mobility
  • Post Session
    • Passive Stretching
  • Weekly Management – Massage, ice baths, stretching, voodoo banding.

So there it is, a bit of a crash course in mobility and recovery! Get on it guys so we can all stay injury free!

By Lisa Campbell – Exercise Physiologist  

Women’s Pole Vault National Champion

Commonwealth Games Representative

World Cup Representative

Oceania Representative

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