I have been reading a lot of misinformation on recovery and regeneration, both from a theoretical perspective and a research interpretation problem. Much of the new thoughts on recovery stem from HRV ideas and some come from the Russian Secrets that is more myth than reality. To set the record straight, Mel Siff was a wonderful man but after talking to him with my therapist he is not a first hand witness, and Supertraining is a philosophical work not history book. Recovery from training starts with being in shape, not jumping in a cold water tub or drinking a protein and carbohydrate potion. Even variety of training becomes old after 4 or 5 years, and creativity is challenged to keep athletes interested when things become monotonous. Being in shape is half conditioning and durability with frequency and intensity of training. You need to be fit and you need to have the ability to handle the demands of repair from intense exercise such as sprinting and resistance training. After you are in shape both intensity and volume, then we can talk about EMS and what to do on the massage table.
Sympathetic Dominance is a buzz term that is begin tossed around by many, and some questions hit my inbox regarding what to do with massage when someone has a certain score on the HRV system. My response was surprising, as talent and ability of therapists matter more than HRV scores. I good therapist worries about scheduling in the session during busy weeks, so put your efforts in getting it put in the calendar and paid for rather than debate on message boards on tone and HRV. Most elite sprinters and team sports athletes come into therapy overtrained and need tissue to be toned down and range of motion increased period. Going light and long is for therapists with less skill, as the best can sooth the body both emotionally and with their hands. When you step into the office with a therapist that is known for greatness from athletes without one shred of marketing, already the healing process has started. Great therapists can tame the most wild of injuries quickly and get deep without bruising. While much of the therapy is neurological, just doing Z-health drills isn’t going to fix a torn hamstring by itself. Manual therapy can be used multiple times a week for years without adaptation problems. Many medalists I have seen go work daily and some more than once a day. If you train hard and frequent and push the envelope, manual therapy and body work are likely to be helpful provided they match the demands of training and competition.
Active recovery is underrated, but the 10m jog nonsense is often done instead of a real workout and we need athletes to take a day off and train 90% effort for the next few days than do several recovery workouts that just detrain the body. Much of the burn out I have seen comes from lack of social and training excitement. How many times do coaches come into the workout for work like a job versus a time to enjoy the learning and exercise? I am guilty of that as I treat coaching as a career instead of an opportunity. The staleness and burn out mentally creates physical manifestations and periodization of fun needs to be higher. I miss high school as we had more social time as a team, and now that I am coaching I am seeing athletes live via facebook instead of going to play mini golf.
Sometimes one needs to deplete, sometimes stimulate, but recovery should only match the need, not just be put in because it’s cool. Recovery is measurable biochemically and physiologically provided that the results of training and competition are graded as well. Results are a product of recovery, monitoring, and especially training, not by what one is claiming to do during presentations.