The Best Recovery Methods for Fighters

Fighting takes a toll on your body. Time in the ring duking it out with another athlete causes everything from sore muscles to bruises and contusions. If you want to win fights, It’s important to take the time to recover between them. Here are a few ways to recover faster.

Stretch and Rollout

Spend some time stretching and rolling out every day. Breath deeply while stretching in order to move deeper into stretches to better activate sore muscles. Use a foam roller or croquet ball to get a self-myofascial release in your joints and muscles. Doing so will relieve tightness, soreness and inflammation. A thick piece of pvc pipe will get even deeper into your muscles and joints than a foam roller. 

Do Active Recovery

Taking time to stretch between fights and training sessions is important, but so are recovery days. If you’re addicted to the gym, it can be mentaly hard to make yourself take a rest day, but resting and giving your muscles time to recover is important to avoiding fatigue and injury. If you really feel the need to workout, taking an active recovery day might be a good solution for you. 

Low impact cardio activities are great for active recoveries. Swimming is the best active recovery you can give your body. Swimming lowers reactive protein levels in your body that are linked to inflammation and is a common rehab activity for injured athletes. Swim strokes are actually an active form of stretching, working arm muscles, quads, calves and engaging core muscles, all while getting your heart rate up. 

One of the biggest hurdles for using swimming for active recovery is finding a place to do it. It can be hard to find a gym with a decent pool that doesn’t charge an exuberant fee. Financing an inground pool may be a good solution, because it will give you and your body easy access to active recovery without leaving home. 

Use Cold and Hot Therapy

If swimming for active recovery isn’t in your immediate future, using cold and hot therapy are another great option. Cold therapy, or cryotherapy, works by reducing blood flow to the cold area, which can reduce swelling, pain and inflammation to muscles and joints. For these reasons, many athletes make ice baths a part of their routine. Fill a tub with cold water and add a few bags of ice so the water is about 55 degrees. Submergy your body in the tub for 6-12 minutes. 

Along with ice baths, consider adding a hot bath or sauna to your routine. Using both hot and cold therapy is called contrast therapy and has huge benefits to your body. Heat therapy increases blood flow to muscles, causing muscles to relax. This means greater flexibility and reduced stiffness in muscles and joints. 

Contrast therapy has a psychological effect on the body that ultimately results in less soreness and swelling to muscles, allowing you to recover and get back in the ring faster.  While utilizing this method, you’ll sit in the ice bath for 1-2 minutes and then switch to the sauna or hot tub for 3-4 minutes. You should repeat this routine 3-4 times. You can increase benefits further by using epsom salts in the hot bath to further decrease inflammation and help the body relax. 

Nutrition for Recovery

Possibly more important to recovery  than your post-workout routine is your diet and supplement intake. Eating a healthy diet that is high in nutrients and anti-inflammatories will go a long way in how your body recovers. If your protein intake is too low, your muscles won’t recover after high intensity training. Low carb intake means you won’t have the energy your body needs between sessions. Fat intake is also important in muscle health and restoration. 

Also consider eating foods and taking supplements high in antiinflammatories, like turmeric and ginger. Taking supplements like omega 3 and krill oil also have recovery benefits, like reducing inflammation. Magnesium also plays a role in muscle function and should be a part of your supplement routine. 

There are a lot of steps in a good recovery routine, both following your workouts and throughout every day. To get back in the ring faster, make sure you’re taking recovery seriously.

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