Recovery Ideas


Blue Belt
Apr 18, 2005
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I was browsing through old threads the other day, searching for of the golden nuggets of info on this forum, when I came across this discussion:

Madmick said:
Olympic lifting is degenerative. You should have rehabilitative lifts in your program designed to counter this and prevent injury.

He elaborated in his next post:

Madmick said:
Olympic lifts and powerlifts place incredible strain on the articular cartilage of whichever joint is involved: the lower back and hips are the most heavily targeted by most of the lifts because the waist acts as a fulcrum where most of the force is exerted.

This is true of any lift; only with olympic lifts and powerlifts, the weight is much greater. For example, every time you curl your arm, you're breaking down tissue in the elbow joint. In the long term, if unattended, repetive motions like this cause stress injuries and disorders like arthritis (baseball pitchers are a prime example). A way to counter this (in the curl) is to work the tendons in a different way: instead of curling your arm, grab a dumbbell and twist the forearm back and forth. This strengthens the agonistic/antagonistic muscles so they can absorb more of the strain of these motions. This is why pitchers are always doing strength band for their rotator cuffs.

I've been thinking a lot about recovery exercises lately. I spend a lot of time in pain. The left side of my trapezius constantly nags me, my knees; wrists, and elbows hurt; and my shoulders have always been a world of hurt.

I think I give myself adequate rest. In fact, I am just coming off a week-long rest which I gave myself because of the trapezius pain. I've been stretching fairly regularly, including rotator cuff work in my press days, and basically trying to keep myself in tact. Most days I feel fine in the gym; every once in a while, though, I feel like I'm falling apart.

So, I wonder if you folks could share some thoughts with me on keeping myself healthy and strong. I would really appreciate some exercises like the one I quoted above for the areas I've mentioned. Also, it seems like I'd benefit from some tips on joint care. How can I keep my knees, elbows, and wrists from going to shit? (As a side note, my knees seem to be under the most stress during deep front squats--that may be a form issue and I would love for someone to address that also).

Basically, any thoughts on recovery, rehabilative exercises, and schemes for taking good care of myself when I'm lifting and when I'm resting would be great. Thanks.
are you asking specifically for joint care stuff, or do you want muscle recovery methods too? i dont have much to offer for joint care, but i can help you out with recovery from muscle fatigue and soreness
Like I said, any thoughts on recovery are welcome.
Here goes. Contrasting showers, Vitamin C, ZMA to create a more anabolic environment when you sleep and help with recovery, stretching and deep tissue massage the day of a workout.
anyone got any joint care tips for the knees, i'm only 22 and i feel like i've got the knees of a 50 year old, i already take a shit load of glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin
Hey, rickdog, can you elaborate on those supplement ideas? How reliable are they?

And, unfortunately, my contrast shower capabilities are shot. I've got too little hot water to do it, actually. It's pretty sad. Also, I don't really know how to go about getting a deep tissue massage. I've got no money and my girlfriend lives about 400 miles away.
biomechanial exercises
MSM powder
Juicer..Juice Veg/Fruit..helps get rid of excess acid in the body.
Reakt said:
anyone got any joint care tips for the knees, i'm only 22 and i feel like i've got the knees of a 50 year old, i already take a shit load of glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin
Do you run on a hard surface regularly by any chance?

If so that'l destroy your knees in pretty short order.
1)High rep delt work with very light dumbells,slow and controlled
2)RAndom light stretching and mving around thruout the day, since i sit a computer for a large part of my day
3)before bed/in bed on couch-lie on my back and drive the back of my knee into the mattress while keeping leg straight, random reps
4)tabatta squats snuck in here and there has improved my squatting ability and my knees feel great
5)grip work at computer during breaks;i got some ideas from Carnals manifesto and i also do individual finger work-this helps prevent carpal tunnel symdrome
6)Random shit
-smoke weed and have a hard belly laugh at something
-have sex or jack off (note; sometimes the latter is better cause check out these lyrics from old school Hardcore band Circle Jerks-
Jerking off to chix from the past
at least when i'm done
they leave real fast)
-meditaion/diaphramic breathing while listening to electrionica music both high and sober
-staying Fedor relaxed throughout the day
-being kind
-hanging out with my friends
-cleaning my place
Also why i have mixed feelings about Howard Stern ( if you look at the bottom of his last show's recap he has a link to a Dr.Sarno who has some interseting ideas on CURING pain. I had some form of acid reflux/gastroentrisomething about 3 years ago and i believe i cured it by following his techqniue. Howard claims he had back pain so bad that he had become immobile and that Sarno cured him. He was on CNN w/Larry KIng once...

I forget to mention viusalization is also a part of my arsenal. When anythign physically bothers me now i visualize it healing in a relaxed state...

...don't know if it "works" but books such as the Relaxation Response (by a legit Harvard Doc) show evidence of how being positive and visualizing can help...
Hulkamania, we all know the benefits and detoxification effects of Viatamin C so I will focus on ZMA for you. ZMA was made by Victor Conte, the name synonomous with BALCO. He did several tests of his own with the help of Bill Phillips and also had some tests run at Harvard Med School. I don't have a link but It would not be hard to find. It is proven that ZMA signifigantly raises testosterone and that the Zinc (I believe) also causes you to sleep more soundly, therefore creating an optimal condition for recovery (that being an increased anabolic environment.) It is cheap too. I payed $14 for ZMA by NOW foods. It is a combo of Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6. Hopes this helps some.
Thanks for all the great input, guys, and thanks for the explanation, rickdog. If you haven't posted your ideas yet. folks, please take the time to help a brother out.
IMO most important thing one has still to learn when he has learned how to train properly, is to learn when to back off from training.

I take 4-5 days off everytime I hit a wall for 2 workouts in a row. From one break to the next, that usually has me going with good progress for 4 weeks. Then I take a few days off, and I shake things up a little. Like going from regular deadlifts to deadlifts with only 25'S on the bar or dumbell bench to neutral grip dumbell bench etc...Then after the next break I come back to what I was doing before, say regular deadlifts, and I start a bit under my last PR to build momentum for the coming 4 weeks.

I've been doing this way before I read the following article, but the guy justifies what I do pretty well...

The only thing is, I don't plan my breaks, I just take them when I feel I'm getting stuck @ a weight/rep number. It just usually ends up being 4 weeks.
please take the time to help a brother out.

Well, since you put it so nicely....

Ive had success using skullcap and valerian to help me sleep. I have found, especially when I have no choice but to only sleep about 6 hours, that taking a few of those makes me sleep a lot deeper, and recover a lot better. Now, it could just be placebo. But, if I had to guess, looking at what I know of sleep theory (You cycle between stages 1-4 and REM sleep throughout the night, you recover more in stages 4 and REM) I would hazard a guess that it helps you stay in stage 4 and REM sleep longer, thus giving you a better return for the amount of time spent asleep.

One thing though, Ive told two other people this, and it worked well for one of them. Both the guy that it worked for and myself do not drink, smoke, or intake any caffeine. So perhaps they do something that overcomes the benefits of skullcap and valerian. I know that alcohol can do the opposite, and keep you out of REM and stage 4 sleep.
There are two broad types of fatigue: neuromuscular fatigue and metabolic fatigue.

I have to go to a movie right now, so I'll keep this brief. Neuromuscular fatigue is fatigue to the CNS. The best way to abbreviate recovery is consistency over a long period of time (professional athletes recover faster than you) and listen to your body when you lift. If you're getting sick or pushing through maximum loads because your rest interval said so when it doesn't feel like enough rest, then you're going to burn your CNS.

Metabolic fatigue has several faces: glycogen depletion, vitamin/enzyme depletion, lactic acid buildup.

For glycogen restoration, the key is diet, specifically quality carbs.

For vitamin/enzyme depletion, diet is also key, this time specifically nutrient timing (and vitamins, of course).

For lactic acid removal (what appears the vast majority of suggestions so far in this thread address), without a doubt the best thing you can do for recovery is light cardio after you workout. Just enough to break a light sweat. I'm 24, I try to keep my heart rate somewhere between 110-130. During the first 10 minutes of continuous jogging/calistenthics, 62% of LA buildup is removed. After 10 more minutes, an additional 26% is removed. So 20 minutes light cardio after your intense lifting will remove about 90% of your LA. That's better than everything else combined, so even if you don't stretch, even if you don't relax, even if you don't do anything else, do this.

And for the love of God, sleep.
You guys are great. I'm working on putting together a nice, comprehensive recovery plan for myself.

Madmick, where do you learn all these things? BOOKS?!?

AND I see you mentioning injury prevention exercises in that other thread. Tell me more, please!
When I was training for a marathon I was putting heavy miles on my legs and also Lifting, training MMA, and swimming alot too. I felt like my body was going to break, but I knew a couple of girls that were prof. massage therapists so I started getting deep tissue massages once a week. I getting a massage once a week on my off day helped me recover and was a great way to get the tension out. Plus its a good reward for your effort.

I was surprised how much it helped my shoulders.

My tip: if you want to save some coin look for a massage school in your area and get one of the students to work on you. They charge less. Or take a class w/ your GF.
For injury prevention exercises check out the book Core Preformance by Mark Verstegen.

DISCLAIMER: The strength section sucks for traditional power lifting.

That said, the rest of the book contains alot of good exercises for neglected parts of the shoulder and your hips. He does alot of stuff on the plyo-ball, which dismiss as romo from the door, but I was having shoulder problems from swimming and the exercises in the book help me alot. There is also alot of good info for gaining power in your hips which I found useful as a striker.

Again I wouldn't say the routines he sets out are ideal for power lifting, but if you are training for sport and bring in some of his ideas, you'll see benefits.
Hulk, when you have enough ideas to comprise a "recovery routine" please list it in this thread. I would be interested in what you chose and why. Thanks man.