One method, which has been proven to be effective, is active recovery. Active recovery is exercising at low intensity between bouts of high intensity workouts or on the day after a hard workout. Active recovery has been shown to reduce lactate levels and acidosis. An active recovery day after a hard day of training can also be beneficial as it helps build aerobic fitness. You can incorporate it by jogging, swimming, cycling etc., but remember to keep the intensity low.
A study that had runners using swimming as an active recovery method concluded that athletes performed better the following day and experienced reduced inflammation. Another study on rugby players after a match found that low intensity exercise helped the athletes recover psychologically as it enhanced relaxation.
When to use active recovery:
- During training while doing repetitions such as swimming intervals or between weights.
- Within the training day between workouts or competitions.
- Within the training week between training and competition.
- Within a training cycle, incorporate easier workouts.
References from the SIRC Collection:
1. Arazi H, Mosavi S, Basir S, Karam M. THE EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT RECOVERY CONDITIONS ON BLOOD LACTATE CONCENTRATION AND PHYSIOLOGICAL VARIABLES AFTER HIGH INTENSITY EXERCISE IN HANDBALL PLAYERS. / UČINAK RAZLIČITIH UVJETA OPORAVKA NA KONCENTRACIJU LAKTATA I FIZIOLOŠKE VARIJABLE NAKON VISOKOG INTENZITETA VJEŽBANJA RUKOMETAŠA. Sport Science. December 2012;5(2):13-17.
2. Ben Abderrahman A, Zouhal H, Prioux J, et al. Effects of recovery mode (active vs. passive) on performance during a short high-intensity interval training program: a longitudinal study. European Journal Of Applied Physiology. June 2013;113(6):1373-1383.
3. KARTHIKEYAN G, SINHA AKHOURY G, SANDHU JASPAL S. Effect of active arm exercise and passive rest in physiological recovery after high-intensity exercises. Biology Of Exercise. January 2013;9(1):9-23.
4. Koizumi K, Fujita Y, Muramatsu S, Manabe M, Ito M, Nomura J. Active recovery effects on local oxygenation level during intensive cycling bouts. Journal Of Sports Sciences . June 2011;29(9):919-926.
5. Lopes F, Panissa V, Julio U, Menegon E, Franchini E. The Effect of Active Recovery on Power Performance During the Bench Press Exercise. Journal Of Human Kinetics. March 2014;40:161-169.
6. Mazreno A, Nodoushan I, Hajian N. COMPARISON OF THE EFFECTS OF ACTIVE AND PASSIVE RECOVERY AFTER INCREMENTAL EXERCISE TO EXHAUSTION ON SERUM TESTOSTERONE AND PROGESTERONE LEVELS OF ATHLETES. / USPOREDBA UČINAKA AKTIVNOG I PASIVNOG OPORAVKA NAKON STUPNJEVITOG OPTEREĆIVANJA DO ISCRPLJENJA NA SERUM TESTOSTERONA I PROGESTERONA U KRVI SPORTAŠA. Sport Science. June 2013;6(1):28-32.