The recovering after training and competitions has become a fundamental aspect of training programs for athletes.
With athletes undergoing increasing training loads, the increase in the recovery after a high-performance training can be particularly important for endurance athletes, in order to reduce the risk of injuries and to avoid the overtraining syndrome.
Methods to improve the recovery in High-performance training
There are several popular methods used by athletes to optimise their recovery. Its use depends on the kind of activity, the time until the next competition and the available equipment.
It usually consists of an aerobic exercise, using different disciplines (jogging, walking, swimming or biking). While the research regarding the benefits of the active recovery for the elimination is minimal, the role of this type of recovery regarding the decrease of muscular pain and the increase in the mobility ranges after exercise can be an important factor for the athletes.
Several ways of immersion in water have become popular among athletes. The most common ways of immersion are Cold Water Immersion (CWI), Hot Water Immersion (HWI), and the Contrast Water Therapy (CWT) where hot and cold water immersions alternate. According to different investigations, hydrotherapy can have benefits for endurance athletes, especially for those that perform high-intensity efforts.
It is believed that compression clothes improve the venous return by applying progressive compression on the limbs, from the proximal to the distal end. Although there is not a lot of research about this subject, the little information available suggests that it can be beneficial and doesn’t seem to have any bad influence on the performance.
The quality and quantity of the sleep are often suggested as the best recovering strategy available for athletes. The recovering and regenerative effects of sleeping can have beneficial effects on the recovery of an athlete. Elite coaches and athletes normally identify sleeping as a vital component of the recovering process in High-Performance training.
The recommended temperature is from 80ºC to 100ºC with a 10 to 20% of relative humidity. Even though there is not much written about this subject, it seems that the use of saunas after training can have benefits in the improvement of the resistance performance.
The use of floating tanks can improve the recovery through benefits like the decrease of physiological and psychological stress, and it also helps athletes to relax.
Based on the available articles, it is unlikely that electrical stimulation is an effective method to improve the recovery unless pain has become a limiting issue. Nevertheless, due to the great difference between the methods of electrical stimulation, more research is needed to confirm this hypothesis.
Massages are widely used by athletes. Most evidence does not recognize massages as a method to improve the recovery of the functional performance. Anyway, as they have potential benefits in items like the psychological aspects of the recovery from high-performance training, rehabilitation, and injuries prevention, massages can still be included in the training programs for athletes.
Although stretching is the most used recovering strategy, there is little investigation regarding the use of this practice as a recovering method. Some findings have been reported regarding the benefits of stretching as a recovering strategy. Nevertheless, to this date, there has been no report of harmful effects on the performance associated with a post-exercise stretching.
Depending on aspects like the sports discipline, the time between training sessions and competitions, the climatic conditions, the periodicity of the training, the recovery, etc. you can choose from the different methods or combinations of them to guarantee an optimal recovering for the athletes.