Tag Archives: recovery

Unknown Tool To Improve Your Strength, Muscles and Overall Recovery: Orthostatic Testing

Orthostatic testing  is the difference between the heart rates at supine rest and at standing position. For example, if the average heart rate in a lying position is 56 and at standing 80, the orthostatic heart rate is 24 bpm.

More info at: https://www.polar.com/en/smart-coaching/orthostatic-test

Athletes are often under a lot of pressure to perform well regularly. This pressure can result in the athlete overtraining and/or becoming stressed. The Orthostatic Heart Rate Test is used to monitor the athlete’s state of health.

Required Resources
To perform the Orthostatic Heart Rate Test, you require

Stopwatch
Assistant

How to conduct the test
The athlete lies down and rests for at least 15 minutes
The assistant records the athlete’s pulse rate (bpm) – R1
The athlete stands up
15 seconds later the assistant records the athlete’s pulse rate (bpm) – R2
The assistant records the difference between R1 and R2

Assessment
To obtain your Orthostatic Heart Rate please enter R1 and R2 and then select the calculate button.

If the difference is greater than 15 to 20 beats then it is probable that the athlete has not recovered from the previous days training, is under stress or the onset of a possible cold. The athlete should consider adjusting their training to allow the body to recover.

Alternative Approach
Perform the test as above over 14 days and record your OHR for each day. Review the 14 values and determine a typical range.

Example: An athlete’s 14 OHR values are: 7, 7, 9, 8, 9, 8, 9, 7, 7, 9, 8, 8, 10, 8

7 – 4 off
8 – 5 off
9 – 4 off
10 -1 off
A typical range for this athlete’s OHR is 7 to 9 bpm. If the athlete finds the OHR for a specific day is greater than 9 then review the planned day’s training and consider reducing the load and/or volume of work.

A value above the typical range could indicate the onset of a cold or the body has not recovered from the previous day’s training. Other factors may cause a raised OHR, like a disturbed night, so review the previous 24 hours and see if there was something else that might have contributed to the raised OHR.

Analysis
Analysis of the result is by comparing it with the results of previous tests. It is expected that, with appropriate recovery between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement.

Target Group
This test is suitable for anyone but not for individuals where the test would be contraindicated.

Reliability
Test reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual’s level of motivation to perform the test. The following link provides a variety of factors that may influence the results and therefore the test reliability.

Validity
Test validity refers to the degree to which the test measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made based on test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete’s physical development.

Advantages
Minimal equipment required
Simple to set up and conduct
Can be conducted almost anywhere
Disadvantages
Assistant required to administer the test

Source: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/hrtest.htm

I remember reading in a Flex magazine years ago as an 11 or 12 year old about the importance of checking the heart rate when you first wake after a nights rest.  A higher heart rate might actually be someone moving toward a state of overtraining.  That stuck with me for years and years.

First, I recommend that you establish a baseline that you can compare against over time. Pick a week when you will not be pushing yourself very hard, when you are feeling good, and have a limited amount of stress.

Every morning for one week do the following:

Before getting out of bed, take a 60 second reading of your heart rate either with a heart rate monitor or by taking your pulse.
Stand up and wait 15 seconds.
Measure your standing heart rate for 60 seconds.
Record all three measurements: Prone, standing, and the difference between the two (orthostatic).
This is your baseline.

Next, I suggest that you take a few more measurements – measure the morning after a particularly difficult training session, and then again the next day.

Most importantly, take some daily measurements if you are feeling the effects of a prolonged series of training sessions with little time for recovery, especially if you are showing some of the signs of overtraining.

Active Recovery Workout Ideas

The entire purpose of recovery is to allow the muscle to repair itself and to engage muscles that are tired or sore from a previous day or prior period of time (say, a few weeks of work). When we are recovering from a phase of training, we can have down weeks (less volume) or complete recovery days.

Active recovery will promote fitness, circulation, mobility while not taxing the central nervous system.  Anything can be taken too far if you spend too much time, are too intense, are over stressed and your nutrition is compromised.

The following carry a low risk of injury and agree with most trainees:

Self -Myofascial release (SMR) – Foam rolling is one form of SMR: the objective is to use implements such as foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and other specialty items (the stick, theracane) etc. in an effort to “massage your muscles.” Although the exact mechanisms behind SMR are unclear, consistent foam rolling may improve range of motion, and decrease an over active muscles tone. Foam rolling has allowed thousands of athletes to train at high levels and avoid stiffness that comes with heavy training.

On your off day, try passing over all major muscle groups with a foam roller. Aim for 30 seconds on each large muscle group, avoiding joints and bony areas. Focus a little extra time on problem areas and pin point troublesome areas by using a lacrosse ball. Monitor your pressure; remember, the goal is to feel better after foam rolling.

Walking – a great thing to do for active recovery. Not only can it burn calories, but also being outside can increase your feelings of well-being. The amount of walking you do on off days should be based on your current fitness level, and your training schedule.
Active recovery

Lighter Weight Lifting – Performing an exercise that made you particularly sore, but using a much lighter weight may be restorative. As a guide, use a weight at or below 30 percent of your usual weight, and perform one set shy of failure.

Hiking – like walking, it can burn significant calories. Once again it must be tailored towards your current fitness level. If you feel worse after the hike then when you started it probably has done more harm than good as far as active recovery sake.

Swimming – particularly low stress due to the weightlessness. You can have a great swimming workout engaging the muscular and cardiovascular system without added pressure on your joints. Take into consideration current fitness level.

Yoga – mobility work can be a form of active recovery that can be done every day. Typically each joint in the body is taken through a safe range of motion. Yoga is an example of mobility work that some people use as active recovery. It can be beneficial if you appreciate your current fitness level and learn from a good instructor.

Cycling – like the other forms of aerobic exercise can be a great active recovery workout, as long as you match the intensity to your current fitness levels.

If You Are Doing Some Active Recovery, Be Smart

One of the biggest problems related to active recovery is that people assume that more exercise will allow them to lose more fat. Whether trainees choose to use active recovery workouts or take full days off, understand that as long as you are on a sensible training program, your eating habits will make a much bigger difference in how you look then a couple extra exercise sessions.

Don’t sell yourself short and over train on days that you should be using active recovery/resting, doing so is a quick way to burn out and ultimately lose steam towards your goals.

Cryotherapy 411

1. Increased blood circulation: Whole Body Cryotherapy enriches the blood with elevated levels of oxygen and helps deliver vital nutrients all around the body. Insufficient oxygen levels in blood have been linked to increased proneness to illness and lowered immune system. In addition to consuming natural organic foods rich in calcium, iron and copper, cryosauna treatments will oxygenate your tissues, and help your blood to circulate at top speeds.
2. Boosted immune system:   As your blood circulation, oxygenation and nutrient levels improve, an intensive stimulation of the immune system will quickly follow, resulting in a preemptive corrective response. This, in turn, will promote the normalization of hormonal balance, making this one of the most important benefits of cryotherapy for sports and general wellness.
3.  Increased energy and strength: As the body goes into an alert mode boosting the immune system, one of the most commonly reported almost immediate benefits of cryotherapy for sports and fitness treatments experienced by many patients is an increase in energy level and consequent strength.
4.  Decreased fatigue: As you gain more energy and strength from your regular Whole Body Cryotherapy for sports and fitness treatment sessions, your will become less tired
5. Effective sports rehabilitation add-on treatment: While physiotherapy is typically a standard go-to rehabilitation treatment method for athletes’ sports injuries, more and more professional athletes turn to cryotherapy cold sauna or chamber for enhanced pain relief. With countless number of virtually risk-free benefits within the sporting field, cryotherapy for sports, both elite and amateur kinds, has become a prime candidate for athlete alternative rehabilitation programs. Cryotherapy for athletes is now the most popular add-on and post-performance treatment, and is frequently recommended in addition to physiotherapy sessions. In fact, entire teams of athletes use it. Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers forward,  stated that “It definitely works” (read the article below). All-Star pitcher C.J. Wilson of Texas Rangers confirmed that “It’s really legit”.
6. Effective pain management method:  While your skin cools off to about 10-12 degrees Celsius, your core body temperature remains mostly the same during the cryogenic chamber treatment, and only slightly dropped afterwards if at all. This short-term cold therapy stimulates the release of endorphins, which in turn trigger analgesia (immediate pain relief). Cryotherapy for pain management became a popular clinically-proven technique in 1970’s for rheumatoid diseases-related pain relief. And it has since been successfully used as a supplementary treatment method for many other health problems, including sports injuries and general muscle and joint pain and inflammations.
7. Faster sports injury recovery: Whole Body Cryotherapy in sports medicine has been getting a lot of attention from professional athletes due to its anti-inflammatory and pain relief benefits. Cryotherapy sports injuries treatments available at the Cryotherapy Health & Wellness inc. in Toronto reduce the injury recovery time by 1 to 2 days on average.
8. Improved concentration: You may be surprised to learn that your fitness performance maybe be correlated with your cognitive mental abilities, including concentration and memory. Better concentration keeps you focused on your sports and fitness goals, and makes you overall more productive. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, known as BDNF, related to the functioning of cognitive abilities, is responsible for protecting neuro-motors in the neuromuscular system from degradation. Degradation of neuro-motors, the most crucial element or the “ignition” in the “engine” of your muscle, partially explains age-related muscle atrophy.  As your brain gets oxygenated via increased blood circulation following your Whole Body Cryotherapy for sports and fitness treatment sessions, your BDNF improves, which, in turn, positively affects your concentration and enhances physical performance.
9. Improved sleep patterns and insomnia:  Poor sleep compromises the production of melatonin, suppresses your immune system, and leads to insulin resistance. Insomnia or inconsistent sleep patterns may directly contribute to the development of a number of serious health issues, from digestive, weight-related and mental health problems to infections and even cancer and diabetes. Prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women have been studied and linked to poor sleep patterns. Find out how cryo treatments benefit mental health here.
10. General wellness: With your immune system boosted, blood circulation, concentration and night sleep improved,  your natural treatment via Whole Body Cryotherapy results in reduced recurrence of colds, flu, and seasonal allergic reactions. These, in turn, will help enhance your sports and fitness performance. Many also report noticeable improvements in psychological stress, muscle and joint pain, and even skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.