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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 19 2018

Primal Action Point: 5 Fitness Recovery Techniques

By Mark Sisson
11 Comments

Inline_Fitness_Live-Awesome-645x445-02Fitness recovery isn’t only about rest. Certain techniques offer faster, more effective recovery after endurance or high intensity training—a big plus for those who compete or follow more intensive fitness programs like CrossFit. By the way, if you missed this week’s feature, Rest and Recovery: A Whole New Perspective, be sure to check it out.

Now onto those techniques…

Cold therapy can help speed recovery by delivering a refreshing psychological sensation and recalibrating the central nervous system and muscle metabolic activity back to calm, cool resting levels. Full body immersion into water at 50 ºF to 60 ºF (10 ºC to 15 ºC) for five to ten minutes, is believed to be the optimal strategy for post-exercise cold therapy.

The old injury treatment protocol of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is being replaced in the eyes of many experts with ECM (Elevate, Compress, Move). Icing of injuries can retard the natural healing process.

Compression wraps or garments act like pumps to squeeze blood vessels open with force, allowing more blood and oxygen into the area and improving removal of waste and excess fluid. Studies suggest reduced muscle soreness and improved performance using compression garments.

Movement is also an important element of recovery. Athletes should refrain from prolonged stillness periods after workouts, and throughout the day. Over time, efforts to move more will result in improvements in the familiar morning stiffness that many athletes experience.

Self-myofascial release is an effective recovery technique. Using rollers or balls, you can apply deep pressure to trigger points that represent the origination of stiffness and mobility problems, which possibly refer pain elsewhere. Self-myofascial release delivers the added benefit of stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to truly unwind after workouts.

— From Primal Endurance: Escape Chronic Cardio and Carbohydrate Dependency and Become a Fat-Burning Beast 

For more fitness recovery techniques, check out Primal Endurance and “7 Things You May Be Doing That Impair Workout Recovery.”

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11 thoughts on “Primal Action Point: 5 Fitness Recovery Techniques”

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  1. To be honest, it’s probably better to keep cold showers separated from your exercise routine, especially if you’re weightlifting.

    “Post-exercise cold water immersion attenuates acute anabolic signalling and long-term adaptations in muscle to strength training”
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/JP270570/abstract

    Just as icing retards the natural healing process, so does it impair the inflammation process driving hormetic adaptation to exercise. So it ultimately backfires. If you need cold showers to tolerate the stress of a grueling Crossfit schedule, I’d argue you must shorten the frequency, not drown it with cold water.

  2. I’m always throwing on compression sleeves after long runs. This is one of my favorite recovery techniques as it is low cost, low risk, and requires little time. Can’t beat that!

  3. I always do a full pass of foam roller after workouts and sprints (30 to 40 minutes)
    And other thing I do is foam rolling in the morning, as part of my morning routine. I have been experimenting with other things, like doing only a yoga morning routine, but what works best for me is the yoga routine and the foam roller pass. If I have time each takes 15 to 20 minutes, if not, 10 minutes each. And if I have to skip one of them, the foam roller stays.

  4. On the subject of cold therapy – do you think there’s actually any benefit to that “deep freeze” therapy thing that Joe Rogan does? He goes into a chamber that covers his body (his head pokes out) where it’s like -50 degrees or something. Always seemed like one of those silly pseudoscience type things to me though.

  5. Hi, Mark Sisson
    You’ve mentioned some great points on Fitness Recovery techniques. I have really enjoyed this article. Thanks a lot such an informative article.

  6. Hmmm, well nice tips I’ll use if ever need. Otherwise, Mark, your Fitness workout is awesome I’m using your mostly all tips and now I’m very good and fit now after your techniques. Thanks a lot for your help and tips…