Sunday, March 14, 2010

Monday WOD - Dealing with Muscle Soreness Part One

For time:
30 Clean and Jerks (135/95#)

Post time to comments.

Dealing with Muscle Soreness Part One
CrossFit is an inherently intense program, and it WILL make you sore if you're doing it right (aka pushing hard enough). Facilitating recovery from these tough training sessions can not only make you feel better, but help you perform better as well. Recovery usually takes 1-2 days, but can last as long as 4 days in some cases. Here are a few ways to help speed up the recovery process.

Contrast hydrotherapy - Preferably, this would be done with a tub of hot water, and an ice bath right next to it, with the water as hot/cold as you can stand (don't burn yourself!). The basic premise is to alternate between the hot to cold water multiple times, with a short duration in each. This stimulates a fresh blood supply in the body, from dilating and constricting blood vessels. This can also be done in the shower (albeit not as effectively) by alternating hot and cold spray. You can start with either hot or cold, generally it's easier to get into the cold if you're already hot (for me at least). Alternate about 2 minutes in the hot water, with 1 minute in the cold water. Repeat this cycle around 3-5 times. If you're in a shower, focus on the sore areas. Always end with cold water.

Massage - Massage can help by not only increasing blood flow to the muscles, but also by relaxing them and  breaking up adhesions that can occur from training.

Stretching - This may not alleviate the soreness directly, but it can help to dull the pain and make it easier to deal with by relieving some of the stiffness. PNF is one of the most effective methods of stretching. PNF consists a series of contracting and relaxing. Move a muscle into a decent stretch, then contract the muscle being stretched for about 5, then release like a light switch and take off tension for a brief second, then pull the stretch a little further and hold for 10 seconds, then contract again. Repeat this cycle 5-6 times or as long as you still see changes in range of motion. This can be done by yourself, or more effectively with a partner, just be careful not to push the stretch too far too soon. Warming up can also help the muscle to take the stretch better.

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