Recovery sessions are an important part of any martial arts training routine. They can help reduce muscle soreness after training sessions and give you a mental break from any exhaustion you may be experiencing.
Many different forms of recovery sessions are available and can be as simple as drilling your martial art without resistance or using specific equipment to soothe muscle aches and exhaustion. All of the following recovery sessions can be of benefit to add to your weekly training routine and help keep you injury free.
Sleep is the essential means of recovery that our trainalta partner coaches swear by, and it is the foundation on which all the other recovery sessions should sit upon. During deep sleep is when you will experience muscle growth and repair, which will have the most significant impact on your recovery overall.
A few things are essential to ensuring you get a good night's sleep:
At trainalta, we recommend you create a nighttime routine that is performed before bed to ensure you get into the habit of falling asleep at the same time every evening. Other habits to ensure a good night's sleep is avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and switching off electronics and bright lights at least an hour before getting into bed.
Cold water immersion is the far more common form of cold therapy that you will find, and it can also be one of the more reasonably priced options. Cold water immersion often takes the form of an ice bath, which will involve immersing your entire body in water ranging in temperatures from 5 to 15 degrees for a maximum of ten minutes. The ease at which this can be achieved with a bathtub and a few bags of ice will make it one of the more convenient ways to recover.
Whole body cryotherapy is a recovery method that has recently become very popular among our trainalta community and involves immersing your entire body in a cooled chamber that can is set at below freezing temperatures for a maximum of three minutes. While the effects of this type of session are similar to cold water immersion you may find that due to the technology involved, it will be a more involved process to attend a session.
The sauna can be one of the most beneficial ways to spend a recovery session as immersing your body in the high temperatures can help relax any sore muscles that have built up during your training week.
As the heat will loosen your muscles up, your blood vessel will widen and blood flow will increase which means the sauna can be a perfect time to combine with some light stretching to help relieve any stress from your body even further. The effect of the heat will also cause you to sweat, so it is important to replenish yourself with water and make sure you are again fully hydrated as part of your recovery.
A way that you can combine both cold water therapy and a sauna together is a recovery session known as contrast therapy. The idea behind contrast therapy is that you will immerse your body in both hot and cold environments in succession so that you will receive simultaneous benefits from both forms of recovery.
Having a sauna and an ice bath right next to each other is one of the more common setups you will find that makes contrast therapy possible as you switch from one temperature therapy to the other and back and forth.
If experiencing muscle soreness or tightness, then a recovery session of stretching or yoga can be a great way to help relax and ease some of those symptoms. While stretching should be something that you integrate into your regular training routine, you can take some additional time to do a dedicated deep stretching session that will help you target muscles that you may not have otherwise done so.
No matter what style of recovery session you use, it’s important to know that any form will be beneficial over not doing any recovery at all. Before venturing into other forms of recovery, remember that sleep will always be the most important aspect to your recovery.
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