Sports Recovery Strategies To Improve Your Performance (Part 3- Advance Strategies)

20 October 2021

In this series of sports recovery strategies, we will talk about three types of Advance Strategies. These strategies that will enhance your sports performance are:

  1. Active Recovery
  2. Self Massage
  3. Sports Massage

Active Recovery

Active recovery, or sometimes known as active rest, is to engage the athletes in light aerobic forms of exercises. Examples include cycling, jogging, swimming, or simple games after the training session. These exercises should be different from those normally performed during training.

Pool work involving swimming or exercises such as running in water is an excellent form of active recovery. Water provides a good buoyant medium to relax the muscles and joints. Research has shown that active recovery is very beneficial, as it can help the athlete to recover efficiently from physical and mental fatigue.

Self Massage

It is important to loosen up the soft tissues such as muscles and fascia that get tight after training. This is to ensure that adaptive shortening of the soft tissues does not occur.

This may result in a reduced range of motion, potentially affecting sports performance. Stretching is a simple and effective way of loosening up tight muscles and fascia. However, it is unable to reach the deeper muscles or trigger point areas.

In order to loosen up these deeper soft tissues, the athlete can go for a sports massage. Alternatively, he/she can self-massage with the use of trigger balls or foam rollers. The beauty about using a trigger ball or foam roller (though not as effective as sports massage) is that you can do them daily in conjunction with stretches. To see how you can use them effectively, click on the link…

Women using form rollers to loosen up these deeper soft tissues

Related: Cycling Recovery Strategies: All You Need to Know as a Cyclist

Sports Massage

During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps, the winner of 8 Olympic gold medals at the event, is reputed to have 2 massages a day to maintain his body in tip top condition. Many serious athletes also engage in sports massage regularly as a form of sports recovery. While there has been no conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of massage, there are many reported benefits. These benefits include:

  • Improved blood flow and circulation leading to better delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and joints, as well as more effective removal of lactic acid
  • Loosening up tight muscles, fascia and trigger points thus improving muscle flexibility and joint range of motion
  • More relaxed mood state
Sports Massage Treatment

Looking at such reported benefits, sports massage is a good way for athletes to recover quickly physically and physiologically. If you are training 3 to 4 times a week, it is recommended that you get a good sports massage at least once a week or 2 weeks.