Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about stress, sleep, and how they are correlated. Today is about training and how we should approach it. Here are the categories:
- The warm up
- The cool down
- At home/days off from the gym
When you take class at Kingfield there’s always a general warm-up that is specific to the daily training. Stretching may be included from time to time and it’s effective before the warm up, but we want to keep it to a minimum of a couple sets for no more than 20-30 seconds per body part.
The warm-up should always be taken seriously, not because it reduces injury (there’s no direct correlation), but instead it gets the body warm and neurologically prepared for training. With this being said, if we were to dive into training cold, then it’ll probably take a bit longer for our body to adapt to training that day and can put us behind.
What if something is a little tight during training? Should I stretch? Foam roll? The answer is yes, but only in small amounts (think 30 seconds/body part). I’ll see someone grab the foam roller after squatting the bar a few times and just roll for minutes on end. I understand it feels good, but it isn’t productive. In reality what they find is foam rolling is almost completely neurological, meaning it’s all in your head when you do it. So that general feeling of “better” is coming from the brain, not the body.
Stretching is similar to foam rolling. Think of it this way, if I’m squatting, then aren’t I technically stretching already? So similar to the warm-up, keep it to no more than 1-2 sets of 20-30 seconds per body part as this only inhibits performance. The longer we stretch, the less time we have for a productive training session.
The cool down is something we can't offer at Kingfield because classes are back-to-back, but there are some things you can do (on your own) that can help initiate the recovery process.
Give this a try:
Hop on a bike, rower, or ski erg and just move for 1-minute, then hit a stretch on one body part for 1-minute, then another body part for 1-minute and repeat this 3-4 times! You’ll find that this is a much more productive session that keeps you on task (in total: 8-12 mins).
Days off/"rest days" can be tough because we always want to be doing something. The most important part of "active recovery" days is to stimulate blood flow by accumulating a heart rate of ~50% of your max heart rate (think about keeping a conversational pace). This pace should be held between 20-30 minutes. It might not feel like much, but that is important, because then it becomes a workout!
To summarize, here’s a simple protocol to follow:
Before training/warm up:
30 sec each stretch: 1 upper body + 1 lower body
Total time: 2 minutes
30 sec each foam roll: 1 upper body + 1 lower body
Total time: 1 Minute
Post-workout cool down
9 min EMOM
Min 1,4,7: 45 sec low intensity assault bike
Min 2,5,8: 45 sec lower body stretch
Min 3,6,9: 45 sec upper body stretch
Active recovery day/Off day from the gym
25 minutes row low intensity pace @ (5:00,10:00,15:00,20:00)
- STOP -
And perform the following:
90 sec-2 min upper body stretch
90 sec-2 min lower body stretch
Try these out and let us know how you feel!