Active Recovery Movements
Admittedly, I sometimes get overly excited about the latest recovery technology or the supposed “best” exercise. But I do specialize in body recovery and injury prevention, so give me some leniency.
Regardless of the specific device being used, the ultimate goal of recovery is always the same: to reduce the amount of time spent away from competition or training. Now, I won’t weigh in on whether or not this is a good thing for weekend warriors, as that’s a separate discussion entirely. And I’m certainly not interested in debating the effectiveness of these devices with keyboard warriors.
Instead, I want to focus on the basics and remind you that active recovery can still be highly effective for preserving performance levels and alleviating fatigue after a competition or intense workout.
Active Recovery activities like walking, foam rolling, or swimming are all performed at a low intensity, which helps prevent additional muscle damage or fatigue. Additionally, incorporating movements that challenge you to move differently than you do during your regular workouts can improve joint mobility and lubrication.
The best part about continuing to read? You don’t need to scour YouTube or Instagram only to find someone contorting their body in ways you won’t be able to do in a million years.
Instead, let me re-introduce you to 3 simple movements that will get the job done. However, before we get into that, please keep a few things in mind:
- Movements should not be strenuous. But you may feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re already sore or have stiff joints.
- Slow down and allow your body to relax into the movements.
- If you’re injured or suspect you’re injured, you’re too late! Kidding, but not really; go to a doctor and get that shit checked out before you try any of these movements.
With that said, let’s get moving.
1. Inch Worm
No, not the actual worm dance, but if that’s where your spirit is leading you, go for it!
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Bend forward at the hips and place your hands on the ground in front of your feet. Keep your knees straight and your back flat.
- Walk your hands forward as far as you can while keeping your legs straight. Your body should form a plank position.
- Pause for a second, then start walking your feet towards your hands, Keep your legs straight; if possible.
- Repeat the process, walking your hands forward again and then walking your feet towards your hands.
2. Bear Crawl
- Start in a tabletop position on the floor, with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees hip-width apart. Your back should be flat and your core engaged.
- Lift your knees off the ground, so that your weight is distributed evenly between your hands and feet.
- Begin to move forward by stepping your right hand and left foot forward at the same time, followed by your left hand and right foot.
- Keep your back flat and your core engaged as you move, keeping your hips level and not allowing them to sag or twist.
3. Crab Walk
Listen, I have a shoulder injury. Therefore, I am cautiously performing this movement and staying within my physical limitations. Any criticism, and it’s Sho’nuff on between you and me.
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your hands behind your hips with your fingers pointing away from your body.
- Lift your hips off the ground, creating a table-like position with your body.
- Begin moving forward by stepping your right hand and left foot forward, followed by your left hand and right foot.
- Keep your core engaged and your hips lifted as you move forward, and try to keep your weight distributed evenly between your hands and feet.
Active recovery is excellent for preserving performance levels and alleviating fatigue after a competition or intense workout.
Movements should be within your physical limitations, non-strenuous, and require you to move differently than usual.