5 Tips to Maximize Muscle Recovery
A lot of things are going well in your training. You’re doing the right programs, you’re training the right muscles, your technique is improving with every lift. But at some point, you’re going to have to use external means to recover. And here we’re going to show you some of those things to to gain more muscle recovery.
#1 Hot-Cold Contrast Muscle Recovery
The first one is the warm-cold contrast. The hot-cold contrast is either hot baths and cold baths or cold showers and hot showers, most often. What these things do is they increase vasoconstriction and vasodilation, almost creating a pumping effect, sort of removing toxins from the muscle, lactic acid and so on, and bringing in new blood flow.
The warm-cold contrast muscle recovery not only causes a superficial change in skin color, but also helps the muscle to recover from constriction and dilation. Secondly, it has been proven to increase growth hormone, which will allow you to repair cells much faster, possibly putting on a little more muscle, and maybe even becoming a little leaner.
Then, I especially like to use it to reduce inflammation. You’ve had an incredibly hard squat workout, an incredibly hard deadlift workout, your back, your knees are tired. Sometimes during training, you need to get rid of joint inflammation. And the best way to do this is not with aspirin and other types of medication. You can use warm-cold contrast muscle recovery to do the job and help you do it safely and healthily.
Another recovery method is kind of unknown because we see a lot of tooling going on. You have Graston, which is really very popular in America. But Guasha has been used in China for many, many years. For thousands of years. So the fascia and the muscles are layered between the skin and the muscle tissue, and they wrap around themselves. But what we see is that during intensive training, these layers stick together.
Now, by using tools at a certain speed, at a certain pressure, what you can do is relax the fascia and muscle tissue, and not only promote healing, but also increase micro-circulation, which will increase repair, and then improve your motor patterns by improving mobility which lead to muscle recovery. So if you have an outstretched shoulder and you’re going to do a military press or a bench press, and you don’t have the fascia loose, it can actually change your motor patterns. This can be one of the causes of serious injuries.
Mini workouts mean that they go beyond what you normally do. But you have to be careful with mini workouts because they have rules. And one of the rules is that you can’t have a heart rate higher than 125-130 BPM. With a mini workout, you don’t want your body to realize that this is just another stimulus to recover from. Therefore, a mini workout should not be more restorative, but rather more healing into muscle recovery.
What you will find with mini workouts is that if done properly, they should reduce pain, they should improve muscle growth very slightly, they should increase the density of ligaments and tendons due to the increased volume of your exercises. And then, you correct your motor patterns if you choose the right exercises to use for these mini-stages. For example, if my hamstrings are weak, leg extensions won’t solve the problem. But over a period of two years, doing 4 sets of about 25 exercises on a light hamstring is hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds of work. These hamstrings will react.
The other thing is that when you do your mini workouts, you want to focus on concentric and not so much eccentric exercises. So the eccentrics, that’s where we get a lot of muscle damage. So what I do when I work out is I relax on the eccentric and push a little bit more on the concentric during the mini workouts. But one of the big rules is that these exercises can’t last more than 12 to 15 minutes, and they have to last 6 hours before or after the workout.
#4 TAKE A NAP
The next big thing many people don’t use is naps. You know, I’m not going to take a nap, I don’t want to be lazy today. If you feel tired in the middle of the day, it probably means your body needs to recuperate. So what are naps for? Naps should last 20 to 30 minutes; you don’t want to be in REM sleep.
You want these naps to be short and gentle. It’s just a little boost to recovery. What they will do is increase brain function and CNS restoration. So, if you’ve had an intensive training cycle or a stressful workday, a simple 20-minute nap in a quiet place will give you energy to get you working out properly. This will increase your endurance since your muscle recovered faster.
Lack of sleep will allow you to store more body fat, cortisol levels will be higher and you will not be as anabolic, so you will have more body fat and less muscle over time. Then, naps actually decrease heart attacks. I think a lot of that is because they lower cortisol levels and decrease stress.
#5 Hydration salt Muscle Recovery Method
The last method for a muscle recovery, and although it should be related to nutrition, I still think it’s a major problem. And that’s hydration and salt. If you have higher levels of hydration and salt, which for most of us at school we learned that was bad, which was actually wrong, is that it will actually increase performance because most of us are deficient in salt. It will actually decrease the pain. And you have to salt your meals to taste them. And that’s the case with every meal. And the reason you salt meals to your liking is that salt doesn’t work well in high doses. It will actually give you diarrhea. But if you do it in slow doses throughout the day, say 4 to 6 meals a day, your hydration level will be very high.
To find out if you have a salt deficiency, just take a teaspoon of salt and digest it about 30 minutes before exercising with a little water to see if you feel better and stronger. If you do, your salt level is probably not very good.
What is a good level? 500 mg of sodium before and after exercise. He’s a big proponent of the vertical diet and that’s why I’m on it. Ironically, by eating the amount of meat, the amount of salt that we now absorb, my blood pressure is better and my blood tests are better. So with all these recovery methods, you have to make sure you use some of them. Because what happens is that everyone is focused on the work during training. But in reality, when you’re training, when you’re working out, when you’re building muscle, it’s when you’re sleeping and when you’re eating. Both are very very important for muscle recovery.