Work hard, play hard, and recover even harder. Recovery has always been an important aspect of individual wellness for athletes, but recently, with the convergence of tech and fitness, the general population has gained much needed exposure to the benefits that recovery methods have on overall health, performance, and progression
What Are Recovery/Rest Days?
Recovery days, or rest days, are days reserved to allow the body to recover from a specific workout routine or program. Often, the type of training, sport, or program you do will impact your rest day activities and schedule. Some programs have complete rest days, where individuals do nothing exercise-related. Other programs utilize active recovery days, where individuals use light activity to help aid in muscle and body recovery. Active rest day activities include walking, yoga, light swimming, etc.
Benefits of Recovery Days
There are numerous benefits to taking a rest day and allowing your body to recover. Here are just a few of the top reasons you should start incorporating rest days into your training schedule:
Repairs muscle tissue
Working out creates small microtears in the muscles. During recovery, the body heals these tears. During the repair process, the tissues are built back slightly bigger and stronger.
Exercise induces more of an active response from your body’s immune system, in particular, your antibodies and white blood cells, which help fight off colds and make you less susceptible to future infections.
Lowers stress levels
Working out slows the release of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol can have a detrimental effect on overall health, especially mental health. Lowering your stress levels can improve your overall health and wellness.
FightCamp Trainers’ Favorite Tools
There are many different types of tools, methods, and equipment that an individual can use to help them on rest days and maximize all of the benefits of proper recovery. Here, the FightCamp Trainers share their favorite recovery tools to help aid them during recovery and stay in fighting shape.
Aaron Swenson - Cupping Therapy
Most notably made famous by Michael Phelps during his reign as Olympic king, cupping therapy is a recovery method in which cups are used to form a kind of suction on the body. These cups can be placed anywhere on the body for multiple healing purposes. Cupping can be an alternative to or used with acupuncture therapy. Note that cupping will leave circular marks on the body, but these marks will fade over several days.
Improves blood flow and circulation
Releases built-up toxins for your body to flush out
Coach PJ - Compex Mini
Image Credit: Compex
Electric muscle stimulation, also known as e-stim or EMS, is a form of recovery in which pads adhere to the body. Electrical currents run to these pads which then stimulate small muscle contractions. These pulses sent through the muscles help to increase blood flow to that muscle and aid in recovery. E-stim can be used on any muscle group or area of the body.
Improves blood flow
Able to be used when doing other activities
Increases muscle strength and density
Improves VO2 Max
Jess Evans - Hyperice Gun
Percussive therapy is the use of handheld electronics to send percussion-like vibrations through muscles to aid in muscle recovery. These vibrations reach the deeper tissues of the muscles. Massage guns can be used anywhere, but be sure to take it easy on bony body parts.
Utilizes different adaptive “heads” to provide varying pressure points
Decreases muscle soreness
Improves blood flow
Improves muscle range of motion
Flo Master - Echo Muscle Scraper
Image Credit: Sidekick
Gua Sha is a 2000-year old Chinese therapy that utilizes a handheld steel or stone “scraper” tool to help with muscle aches and pains. Muscle Scraping Therapy or IASTM (instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization) is used with a scraper tool and sometimes oil to help promote muscle healing, improve blood circulation, and trigger point massages. This recovery method has become increasingly popular for its effective benefits and since a scraper is an affordable tool that you can use at home. This technique can be used anywhere on the body, but you may find that your back, neck, arms, and legs will love you even more if you focus the scraper on them.
Effective for pain management
Improves blood flow
Trigger point massages
Self or professional administration
Shanie Smash - Vibrating Foam Roller
Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique (SMR) that uses your body weight to exert pressure on your muscles through small repetitive movements on a foam cylinder. Basically, think of it as a deep tissue massage that you can do by yourself with a simple piece of equipment. Add in percussive therapy, and you have a vibrating foam roller.
Increases blood circulation
Improves mobility and flexibility
Reduces muscle soreness and tension
Most affordable recovery tool
Recovery At Its Finest
Although some recovery therapies require professional administration, many of today’s top recovery tools can be self-administered. Not only that, but a majority of them are portable so you can pack them in your gym bag and can take them anywhere.
While each technique and tool is slightly different, they all have numerous benefits. What matters most is that you start focusing on your recovery today. So, are you ready to train (and recover) like a fighter? Get access to hundreds of boxing, kickboxing, strength, conditioning, recovery, and stretching workouts that will push you mentally and physically. Download the FREE FightCamp App and train with real fighters from the comfort of your own home.