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on Aerobics and Active Recovery

November 17, 2010

Our last blog post covered Omega-3 foodie steps to eating better in the training days/weeks/months before a tournament, and perhaps a future post will discuss day-of nutrition, but how might we recover after a hard week/month of tryouts, Club Nationals, or long-short days at Sean Ryan / UC-Santa Cruz?

We’ve previously covered a few ways to rest, recover, regenerate, but I thought I’d write a shorter post that is a bit more actionable for a few specific things to do in the few days/weeks before and after a tournament.

1. Keep up your aerobic base with simple conditioning at least once every three days.

You’re likely doing sprint work enough for anaerobic development, but you might not realize that in the original Tabata interval study, *all* participants did some steady-state work at least one day a week. Did you also know that “Every three days, you basically have a new heart”? (Source: Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo, molecular biologist, cited in the NYTimes)

If you pick up Vern Gambetta or read certain blogs that focus on strength sports rather than endurance (marathon) or strength-endurance (Ultimate) sports, they’ll often tend to poo-poo steady-state cardio, and I admit that I’ve done so myself in my own training. But what I’ve found is that a moderate amount of steady-state cardio (2-3x a week let’s say for 33 minutes a pop on a stationary bike) not only helps with mood, but acts as “active recovery” as they say.

After a tournament, rather than pushing too hard (and then forcing adaptations to stimuli other than the tournament and Ultimate practices themselves), with new lifts / deadlifts / anything neurologically challenging, some steady-state cardio can be of use before you start lifting / running sprints / complexes again.

2. Floss your muscles, floss your fascia!

We talked about SMR / foam rolling before, but I still recommend the TigerTail massage stick as it lets you pinpoint your way to specific soft tissue areas right after/before/during a tournament. Did you know that massage work can stimulate a positive immune response? new studies demonstrate. Who knew?

Another tip I picked up from Mark Verstegen at a recent PerformBetter summit, in a talk titled “Training the Endurance” athlete, was to suggest that endurance athletes (Ultimate players in our case) put a tennis or lacrosse ball near their bathroom sink so that you can floss your plantar fascia/aponeurosis by rolling your foot over the ball as you brush your teeth.

3. Finally, to keep it simple again, take your fish oil (Omega-3 / anti-inflammatory) supplements 2-3 times a day!

See the previous post on Omega-3s and fish oil for the deets.

That’s it for today. Can has active recovery?

1. 33 minutes of aerobic steady-state cardio at least once every 3 days
2. Floss your muscles, floss your fascia!
3. Take fish oil supplements regularly

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2010 4:16 pm

    Having designed a lot of Sockeye’s workouts, and worked with paid professional strength and conditioning coaches in our ’09 season, I’d agree that some amount of steady state cardio can be of use, especially as you say, as an active recovery, allowing your nervous system a bit to recover. Further, most players on the team have golf balls in the freezer for our plantar fascia; feels bad & good at the same time, as well as foam rollers. You’ll often see most of us foam rolling before and after games, and can usually spot MC foam rolling at all possible times, including airports check in lines. Fish oil has also found its way into most of our diets (for me in capsule form, easiest way I’ve found), as well as branched-chain amino acids, msm powder, creatine for some, and chia seeds (I’m the only chia seed guy, it grosses out most everyone else, but I love the stuff).

    Great article, great stuff, keep it up.


    • Leslie Wu permalink
      November 19, 2010 5:07 pm

      Thanks Tyler! Some strength coaches will ignore steady-state figuring that in-game running will be enough but I’ve found personally and in practice that if you focus on the recovery / health aspect and supplementing the anaerobic part of training, there’s a place for it.

      Haven’t tried golf balls in the freezer but that does sound bad & good!



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