How to restore muscle after training?
Even novice athletes know that the day after heavy strength training (especially after squats with a barbell or deadlift) the muscles seem to “stiffen”, and every step becomes torture. Unfortunately, specific pulling muscle pain and muscle stiffness are an essential companion to hypertrophy training.
However, in order to accelerate the recovery processes after training (and, ultimately, accelerate muscle growth), professional athletes not only refrain from physical activity on rest days, but use light weight exercises and short cardio loads for the so-called "active recovery". In addition, a roller massage for myofascial release is often recommended.
Recovery and muscle pain
It is extremely important to be able to distinguish between “healthy” muscle pain and pain caused by sports injury. If the muscles begin to ache slightly on the third to third day after training and the aforementioned stiffness appears - this is the normal recovery process. However, if you experienced a sharp pain during the exercise, this is most likely an injury.
It is believed that muscle pain during recovery after training is caused by attempts by the body to remove lactic acid and other toxins from the tissues formed during the performance of heavy strength exercises. The feeling of "woodenness", in turn, is a direct result of the active healing of microdamage to muscles .
Active and passive recovery
Traditionally, the term “recovery” means passive rest - the athlete does not play sports, but simply rests. Usually, such a recovery takes about 2-3 days after training , which is quite acceptable for beginners. However, if you play sports professionally and go to the gym every day, then such a solution will not work.
Attempting to train with tight muscles significantly increases the risk of extremely unpleasant injuries and even muscle breaks. Professionals know that in case of damage to the pectoral muscles, it will take at least 6-8 months to heal the injury, implying a complete abstinence not only from training the muscles of the chest, but also from training the entire body.
What is active recovery?
Active recovery is one of the most effective ways to more quickly regenerate muscles and accelerate the removal of various toxins after training for muscle growth. Usually, active recovery refers to a combination of sports massage, neat muscle stretching and light cardio workouts.
Among other things, it is believed that in order to accelerate the recovery of the muscles of the legs and lower half of the body, short strength training (approximately 20-30 minutes), performed with loads of 30-50% of the usual ones, that is, if you squatted from 100 kg in 5 repetitions, then on the "recovery day" you should squat with 30-50 kg and 10-12 repetitions.
Pros of active recovery
The main advantage of using the active recovery technique is that, due to increased blood flow in the tissues, easy training helps the body quickly remove toxins accumulated in the muscles. In addition, the use of average working weight will be a good opportunity to work on the technique of performing exercises and the development of communication between the muscles and the brain.
Another positive factor of training for active recovery is the additional provision of muscle nutrients. In simple words, performing exercises with a high number of repetitions makes the muscles “hungry”, they request additional nutrition and, ultimately, get the opportunity to grow much faster.
Best Recovery Exercises
In fact, when using the active recovery methodology, the choice of specific exercises is not so important. You can either use your usual training program (reducing the working weight by about half) or perform light weight training using a comprehensive program that works out all the key muscles in one session.
Remember that each exercise of such a training is performed no more than in two approaches, a high number of repetitions (12-15 repetitions) and fairly small working weights (30-50% of the usual) are recommended. The total duration of the recovery training should be 30-40 minutes, 10-15 of which should be in light cardio .
Supplements for fast muscle recovery
A classic recipe for a sports cocktail to speed up muscle regeneration is a mixture of creatine, simple carbohydrates and protein isolate (a total of about 30 g of carbohydrates, 10-15 g of whey protein and 3-5 g of creatine), taken immediately before the start of an active recovery training. You can also take BCAA amino acids .
Such a cocktail will be a good source of nutrition to accelerate muscle growth processes, and increased blood flow as a result of training will facilitate faster absorption of nutrients. In conclusion, we note that a ready-made gainer, as well as a glass of juice, a sweet fruit, or a handful of dried fruits can act as a source of carbohydrates.
In order to accelerate muscle recovery after strength training, sports massage and special stretching exercises will help, as well as moderate cardio and an active recovery technique consisting in conducting light and short strength training on rest days. The main task will be the washing out of toxins and improving the nutrition of muscle tissue.