Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Walk It Out!

Working with high school kids in particular, I notice that a lot of them, after an intense exertion lasting a couple minutes or more, crumple to the ground with looks of absolute agony. Then, after a few minutes of moaning and panting, pick themselves off the floor to prepare for repeat efforts. This is more common with kids who are not serious about athletics, but I see it in sports practice as well.  I'm not a doctor, but there are, as I see it, several things wrong with this approach to "recovery":

1) Blood is not shuttled through fatigued muscles and localized lactic acid build up is not removed as quickly as it might be if light movement were continued during recovery. Without a cool down of some sort, blood is likely to pool in stressed musculature.
Tension is fine when it is appropriate to the context. However, tension fatigues and destroys sensitivity - not something you want in repose.

2) Heart rate and breathing take longer to return to resting levels.
I'm not up on current research in this area, but you'd have a hard time convincing me that light movements to "taper off" a hard exertion were not healthier, even if qualitative research demonstrated no time difference in return to pre-exercise heart and breathing patterns.

3) You cannot practice proper posture, breathing, and "readiness" curled up in the fetal position on the ground.
I've worked with some large linemen and many of them just did not understand how to breath properly while trying to recover from efforts. I don't know why that was the case with these young men in particular, but it was the case that they lost their cookies on hill sprints. Keeping them moving and stressing breaths through the nose and "into the belly" equalled less time moaning on the ground, and less time with Pukie The Clown. "Walk it out!" I'd tell them, usually with some light skipping or arm circles thrown in here and there. In a few sessions, they had acquired greater breath control and were more quickly physically and mentally ready for "NEXT".


Anonymous said...

Boris, is there a way that I could contact you with a question about squat form? Thanks :)

Boris said...

Yes, send me a PM via a forum, facebook, twitter, or you can send me an email at boris_york@yahoo.com

If you send an email, make sure you are descriptive in your title - I don't hesitate to delete mail I think might be spam.