As training camp kicks off in preparation for the season, two-a-days are often part of the deal. Not only are these intense workouts exhausting, they also do a number on your body. The secret to survival: recovery. That’s right, you need to rest. Pushing yourself so hard without resting and recouping will wear your body out over time. Use these three tips to recover better and faster, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your performance at training camp and during the season.
- Use a foam roll.
While a professional massage would be great to loosen tight muscles and ease aches and pains, a more practical and affordable option is using a foam roll. Spending just a few minutes each night using this massage technique will release tension, lengthen muscles, and keep your muscle tissue healthy. Focus your efforts on your hip, knee, and glute areas – all commonly sore areas for football players.
- Get some ZZZZZZ’s.
When it comes to recovery, sleep is paramount. Not only is this the time that your brain refreshes, but it’s also the time when your muscles rest. Research has even shown that sleeping for six to eight hours a night can make you faster. To get a better night’s sleep, turn off all electronics – smartphones, TVs, tablets – an hour before bed, use blackout curtains to darken your room, and drop the temp between 65 and 72 degrees. You’ll be asleep in no time. Struggling with midday drowsiness? Take a power nap. Resting your eyes for just 20 minutes can leave you feeling refreshed and more focused.
- Focus on flexibility.
If you can barely touch your toes or your muscles just feel tight, there’s a lot you can do to improve your performance. Spending just 5-10 minutes a day stretching can increase your range of motion, improve your movement efficiency, and, most importantly, reduce your risk of injury. Plus, after a tough day on the field, it just feels great. To get started, try the exercise videos above.
Preview photo credit to Steve Boyle for ESPN The Magazine.