The basketball season can feel long. You're travelling to all kinds of places for games and tournaments, going in for open gyms, strength and conditioning training, practice, and watching film. It can be easy to neglect other small details that are important for all athletes like recovery. Let's go over some key techniques to help you stay injury-free with playoffs just around the corner.
1. Active recovery
Active recovery is a workout that involves low-intensity exercises to help your muscles recover after intense physical activity. When you're super sore after a weight lifting session or long week of games an active recovery session is a great way to increase blood flow, reduce lactic acid buildup in muscles and keep muscles flexible.
Some examples of active recovery are walking, yoga, swimming, and jogging. If you have a Dr. Dish machine active recovery can be a low intensity shorter free throw shooting session. To measure if you're at the right intensity with these workouts you should be able to have a steady conversation or be within your green zone heart rate (71-83% of your maximum heart rate).
2. Foam rolling/massage
Foam rolling and massage techniques can be a great way to increase circulation, reduce pain and discomfort and increase mobility. There are numerous different massage tools that you can purchase such as a massage stick, massage gun, foam roller, and even a tennis or lacrosse ball. YouTube is a great resource to look up techniques for foam rolling based on the muscles/areas you want to target. Incorporating this into your daily routine after practice/games/training will help with your muscles be prepared to go at it again the next day.
3. Ice baths
An ice bath might not sound enticing or relaxing but it's a great way to speed up your recovery. When you take an ice bath inflammation is reduced to improve recovery through changes in the way blood and other fluids flow through your body. As you sit in the cold bath your blood vessels constrict and when you get our they open back up. This helps get rid of metabolic waste. Some programs have ice baths kept at specific temperatures but you can get creative with putting ice and water in buckets for ankle to shin recovery or just getting your bath water at home as cold as you're comfortable with.
4. Hydration and proper fuel
It's easy to forget about how important it is to stay hydrated and properly fueled when you're busy. This is especially important after exercise to restore/replenish your glycogen storages (the main source of energy for the body). Glycogen is also a necessary nutrient for muscle recovery. This is why it's super important to eat a balanced meal shortly after exercise. Hydration also plays a key role in your digestion which if that's not properly functioning it will be harder to workout and recover.
After exercising, to help your body get rehydrated combine electrolytes. Electrolytes are responsible for directing water and nutrients to areas in your body that need it the most for optimal balance. There are tons of great options for electrolytes.
Part of loving the game of basketball is putting in the work in all the necessary aspects of the game. Recovery is equally as important as training because if neglected it can lead to injury.
We know the basketball season is long and it can be hard to be motivated to do all the little things sometimes. Check out our top 3 tips to help you stay motivated as you head into playoffs soon.