Recovery is one of the most misunderstood factors in the development of a wrestler or combat athlete.
The type of person that generally engages in these sports is usually driven, hard-working, and willing to endure whatever is necessary to win.
This frequently leads to overtraining by those that take the ‘more is better’ approach.
After you have figured out how much stimulus your body can take without breaking down, you can then think about speeding up the recovery process between workouts, both practice and strength/conditioning.
Here are 7 of our favorite recovery methods:
Post-Training Recovery Drink
This drink is the number one area of importance when setting the stage for recovering between practices and workouts.
Your recovery drink must be consumed within 20 minutes of your training completion. It is during this time that your nutrients will be transported right to the muscle cells. This helps replenish your muscle glycogen that was used to fuel your anaerobic workout. Your drink can be 16 oz. of chocolate milk, 12 oz. grape juice with a scoop of whey protein powder, or 16 oz. of Gatorade with 1 scoop of whey protein, 5 grams of creatine and 10 grams of L-glutamine.
The important thing is the protein to carbohydrate ratio. You want to keep a ratio in the area of 1:2 or 1:3
This will give the correct ratio for consumption of nutrients with no storage to fat cells.
The other consideration is that a 180lb. athlete needs roughly 80 grams of sugar from the drink. Keep this in mind and keep the ratios the same.
Because of the ballistic, pounding nature of combative sports, there is
a lot of stress on the joints. If you experience this you can speed up the recovery of the muscles and keep your joints from swelling with ice.
Right after practice or training (immediately following your recovery drink) you sit down on a comfortable chair or couch with your legs extended out in front of you.
Have either ice packs, or ice gel bags on hand.
Rest your elbows on the arms of the chair on top of an ice bag for each.
Hang two ice bags on your shoulders (especially toward the anterior deltoid).
Lay two bags across your hip flexors at the bend, or lay straight back and the ice draped on top of the hip flexors.
Rest two last bags on the knees.
Keep the ice on the joints for 20 motionless minutes.
Obviously, you are going to need some help at first. It’s amazing how you’ll find a way if nobody’s around though. Once you feel how well you recover, you’ll want to keep doing it.
Fill your bathtub with very cold water.
Get your shower going nice and hot (not so hot as to burn you however).
Get in the shower for 1 minute.
Immediately submerse your body in the bathtub for 1 minute. Keep alternating between the two for 10-12 minutes.
This one really works. To be honest, I haven’t had too many athletes that wanted to go through with it on a regular basis because of the extreme cold of the tub.
However, you train to extremes. Perhaps your recovery methods need to be just as insane!
I always tell my athletes that the only time you do static stretches, where you hold the muscle in a stretched position for 30-90 seconds is after your workout. If you don’t have time, do it in the evening while relaxing.
Static stretching will help get blood into the muscle for recovery purposes. This oxygenates the muscles and helps get rid of lactic acid buildup.
Important areas for combat athletes will be the hamstrings, glutes, pisiformis, core, and shoulders.
Remember, keep a balance between muscles for optimal recovery and performance.
Lean Protein + Complex Carbohydrates One Hour After Post-Workout Drink
About 1-1.5 hours after you consume your recovery drink, you should eat a solid meal. This meal should consist of a lean protein and complex carbohydrate.
If you think about it, you’ve replenished your muscle glycogen with your recovery drink. Now, you’re giving your muscles nourishment to
not only help repair broken down tissue, but add lean tissue, resulting in strength development.
I like to have athletes eye-ball their amounts so that they look
about the same size. If you try to match your chicken breast size to the size of the potato or rice on your plate, you will give a proper ratio of nutrients to set the stage for strength gains.
To be truly complete, you’d want to include a green vegetable or salad that was visually the same size as the protein and complex carbohydrate.
If you can get a therapeutic massage often it will be to your benefit.
Therapeutic massage helps rid the muscle of lactic acid buildup, and toxins.
It also helps keep the muscles loose, preventing and breaking down the fascia the covers the muscle. This ‘Saran Wrap’ type substance will reduce your range of motion and ability to recover over time. Not to mention you won’t be able to fight as fast.
Deep tissue therapy and Rolfing are very effective.
2 Glasses of Water Upon Waking
This is a very simple, yet effective approach to recovering faster. You will never be able to perform at your best if you aren’t properly hydrated. By the time you wake in the morning it has been hours and hours since your body last gotwater.
Two glasses upon waking will rehydrate the muscles and cells.
It will help flush toxins as well.
It will keep the muscles strong and capable of increased work loads.
Do this for a week, and you will be amazed at how much better your recover and perform!