We played three games back to back on Saturday down in Roanoke in the Virginia Tech Tournament. In spite of generally crushing it on the field (#winning) like a champ, I woke up on Sunday feeling more slightly less than an ATH.
The morning after a big day is a delicate period where many crucial decisions must be made. Do you get out of bed? Can you? And why don’t you remember getting hit by train? While it’s tempting to linger in bed clutching ice packs to your quads, casually tweeting about how your body hates you, don’t. This is detrimental to your followership and your body. While yesterday was about you wracking up GB stats, today is about you and DOMS. DOMS is a classically painful third wheel: arrives uninvited, wedges itself obnoxiously between you and your sweet win, and overstays it’s welcome. DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness, is the well-known ache you feel starting 12-24 hours after intense exercise. It tends to worsen, peaking anywhere from 24-72 hours later. That’s right, the train wreck feeling is here to stay for up to three days. If you let it.
To combat DOMS and properly take care of your body, you need a regeneration workout the day after. Regen combines low intensity cardio and flexibility training to aid muscular recovery.
1) Dynamic stretching. (10 min) This entails movement. You want to loosen up your major muscle groups without placing unnecessary strain on your body.
2) Cardio (Low intensity, 20 min) You need to get blood flowing; Cardiovascular exercises is any type of exercise that uses major muscles groups to perform repetitive movements. This can be running, any kind of cross training like cycling or elliptical or swimming. It’s going to hurt for the first couple minutes, but plays a fundamental role in breaking up the lactic acid build up in your muscles and distributing it throughout your body.
3) Myofascial Release aka Foam Rolling (10 min)
Every athlete should own a foam roller. They’ve been used for decades with pros and are becoming increasingly common in the fitness world, but most high school and youth athletes don’t know about foam rolling. The concept is that intense periods of pressure and release work out knots in the tissue to relieve tension and prevent injury. Target your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, IT band, and lats. Lat rolling feels strange, but you’re using this muscle ground every time you throw, shoot, etc.
4) Some passive stretching. What you would typically consider stretching. Do this last to prevent injury and strain.
I did Regen Sunday morning, and felt infinitely better on Monday. It’s easy to love the pre-game and natural to love the game itself. Learn to love the post-game, and your body will thank you.