by Sean St. Onge
I was reminded of a technique for better recovery by our old 212 coach and friend, strength coach, Metallica lover, and new father…Tony Bonvechio. Now, if you were a member of 212 Health and Performance for the time frame he was here some may say we looked a lot a like from behind.
Even tougher I guess when we are twinning…
Our programming, classes, and thought processes were similar. Our superior choice in music was synced. :)
And we were both bald, short, thick dudes/brothers from another mother. Tony is now living just up the road from us here in Rumford, R.I. changing lives in his own business with his new family the Strength House in Worcester, MA.
Tony recently posted a blog about choosing a better mindset to set yourself up for growth in all facets of life.
It reminded me of how we would challenge each other, be it from:
best types of craft beer to imbibe
meats to marinate and grill
Challenging our coaching styles
Not only did Tony work with us at 212 Health and Performance, I personally hired him to write my workouts. Hiring Tony as a coach was one of my best endeavors as a coach myself because what it did was it allowed me to gain a perspective from his eyes on how to assess and execute a situation with clients. I also gained a different variety of “same, but different” types of exercises and programming. I was able to see how he would challenge me and show empathy, but still keep me moving to my goals.
One of the most important and pivotal learning experiences I gained from my time as his client and co-worker was the process of including a longer, when needed, soft tissue and dynamic warm up. Whether you are beat up from a previous workout or your body just feels like garbage, there is always something you can do. I have blogged about this… A LOT. Here is a short quick something to do while you pretend to do stuff at your desk.
But the recovery process for ailing muscles and joints can be started with a little TLC. This can apply on traditional rest days, or between training sessions and workouts to allow more movement while not over-taxing your central nervous system and muscles while providing a satisfying break up of those sore muscles. So what to do?
1: Foam Rolling
This can be extremely beneficial for those that have trigger points that have not been addressed with proper blood flow, mobility work, and dedicated stretching. It can be the missing link to providing your body the care it needs to run at a higher level of performance, whether you are an athlete or, more specifically, a functional living human on the planet Earth. (By the way, you don’t need to be an athlete or competing for anything specific to do any of the above mentioned, it’s just like Gatorade, you don’t NEED to be an athlete, you can just be a thirsty dude. Same applies for foam rolling.) Here is some science to help back up the extra rolling.
2: Extended Mobility Work
What in the hell is “Mobility Work?” It is the process of position and alignment of everyday movements. We try to focus here with regaining lost range of motion and getting your muscles to their neutral lengths so they can perform properly. As we get older, the increased time spent on range of motion of all of our joints is paramount for a fully “functioning” body. So by patterning the motions and movements that our bodies need to operate on a repeated basis BEFORE we demand ourselves to perform them under duress or load is key. Again as we age, this process takes longer, due to lack of activity between juggling everyday life and making time to train. Remember kids, your 3-5 hours a week in the gym SHOULD not be harder than your 3-5 hours performing manual labor in your homes or yards. And if you are an athlete or weekend warrior hiker, biker, wrestler, adventure racer, it for sure damn better not be a shock to your body. Because if it is, you need to change how you train so it complements the demands and rigors you are putting yourself through.
By “dragging out” your soft tissue work and milling of your body for its kneads….(see what I did there??) for its NEEDS, you will increase blood flow, and give your body movement in a time that allows the healing process to take a “jump start”. By implementing more movement and blood flow through your sore muscles you can subside the traditional delayed onset muscle soreness time frame.
A “Recovery Circuit” can be another quick way to implement all of the aforementioned into a faster streamline of work that can take no longer than 30 minutes and pack a lot of bang for your buck. We provide two options, the first is a bit more relaxed and the focus is recovery and quality of movement. The second is focused on blood flow and getting up a good sweat without taxing the central nervous system with weight, but also provides a good amount of mobility and movement.
SAMPLE RECOVERY CIRCUIT 1:
Soft Tissue Work: Foam Roll
Glutes (Butt Muscles)
A1: All Fours Belly Lift (Breathing hard into the upper back) x 8 breaths
A2: Split Stance Adductor Mobilizations x 8 per side
A3: Bird Dogs x 5 per side
A4: Walking Heel to Butt Quadriceps Stretch with Opposing Free Arm Reach x 6 per side
A5: Walking Spider-Man Lunge with Toe Grab and Rock Back x 6 per side
A6: Lateral Lunge with Double Arm Overhead Reach x 6 per side
A7: Inch Worms x 5
Repeat all 4 times:
SAMPLE RECOVERY CIRCUIT 2:
Soft Tissue Work: Foam Roll
Glutes (Butt Muscles)
A1: Bodyweight Turkish Get Up x 3 per side
A2: Step Ups to a 20 inch box 3 sets of 6 per side
A3: Band Pull Aparts 3 sets of 12
Air Dyne Bike: 6 minutes (pedal 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds slow)
One other benefit of this kind of “off day” is the mental focus it provides.
This can also provide a literal jump start for you mentally. As the cobwebs and soreness dissipate you become more focused on moving forward. Once you realize you and your body are capable of more workload, this will help create a positive outlook on future post training sessions. We all know the “Scary Sunday” dread of having to return to work mentality. Conquer it quick and early by maintaining the concept of “keep moving” and “always doing something”. By doing a little bit of these drills, it will help create more time elsewhere in your day and set you up for a successful streak of knocking out your daily to do list.
We hope this helped and provided you with some things to give a go and get off the snide for when you are feeling too beat up from your hard training sessions.