Recovery is the most overlooked aspect of physical development. No amount of training can yield positive results if you aren’t properly recovering. Recovery is made up of 3 major components, sleep, nutrition and active/passive recovery modalities. This article will focus on the third aspect of the recovery process, active and passive recovery modalities.
How do you know if you are recovered? Recovery must be monitored and there are various ways, some simple and some more complex, to objectively determine your level of recovery and preparedness to train. It is critical to monitor both the recovery of muscular systems and nervous systems. The higher velocity the activity the athlete is participating in, the more important it is to monitor recovery, as training will undoubtedly be more taxing to the nervous system and have a greater likelihood of leading to overtraining. High velocity movements, like sprinting and throwing, are much more sensitive to nervous system readiness, compared to higher force athletes like powerlifters. For example, a 5% reduction in performance due to lack of training readiness for a sprinter could be the difference in a 10.0 second 100m and 10.5 second 100m-a true world of difference in performance, while for a powerlifter a 5% reduction in performance, such as the difference between a 600 and 570 pound deadlift, while significant isn’t nearly the chasm observed in the sprinting example.
Before we examine how to enhance recovery and effectively pair training and recovery modalities together, lets look at some different ways to monitor your training readiness for a given training session. One simple way to measure your or your athletes readiness to train high velocity qualities is to perform a standardized test prior to each intensive training session. Good options for this type of test are a standing long jump or overhead backwards medball/shot throw. It is necessary for you to establish a baseline result in whichever test you choose before beginning a given training block/cycle. Once you have established this baseline number, you will monitor your athlete’s readiness by testing them in the given discipline prior to each intensive training session, where you aim to develop speed/power qualities. If the result in the given day’s test is too far below the baseline number, you will adjust the training load for the day accordingly.