Regeneration: What is it?
"Stay open-minded; stay focused. Train hard and train smart. For me, the older I get, the smarter I have to train also, because the recovery time is longer. Work on everything: become a well-rounded fighter - don't just be good at one thing; be good at everything."
- Brock Lesnar
Fighting fit is about more than just pushing the envelope day in and day out. It’s also about how well you can recuperate between bouts. To excel at every part of your life and get ready to push again, regeneration is key. The concept of athletic regeneration and recovery is by no means new. Athletes have been using specific exercises for centuries to help them prepare for elite combat and competition.
We live in daily combat. Every day we wake up and prepare for competition. We have to make sure that at the end of each of these daily bouts, that we still have the tools and knowledge to get up the next day and do it again—hopefully, a little bit better than we did the day before.
Every single contender at Gloveworx works hard inside and outside of the studio. They have jobs, families, and hobbies—all things that make life exciting to live. They train at Gloveworx to help them develop an unstoppable edge that allows them to overcome the physical challenges in their daily life.
Recovery and Regeneration: What it is and Why it Matters
As a contender, you should push yourself to the limits. Go beyond your comfort zone, be relentless in pursuit of your goals, and train hard. Regardless of your goals, it's this unstoppable attitude that will help you accomplish them.
However, training, skill building, muscle gain, weight loss-- they all have one thing in common. On the flip side of training, you need to allow ample time and care for recovery and regeneration.
Recovery and regeneration starts before you step into the ring. Ensuring you do a proper warm up to prepare your muscles for the work ahead is a form of pre-habilitation. Taking the time to improve your mobility, flexibility, stability, and balance are all a form of recovery and regeneration.
Exercise Science 101
Exercise is a form of stress on your body. Although it's a good stress, if you don't give yourself time to recover properly or support the training with regenerative practices, you'll burn out quickly. Your body will feel fatigued. Exercises that once came naturally will feel challenging. A lack of focus on offsetting the impacts of the work your body goes through creates imbalances and dysfunctional movement patterns, which can lead to injury.
When you put your body under stress, even the stress of a good workout, it has a physiological response. When you workout, your muscles break down, your blood pressure temporarily increases in tandem with your heart rate, and you fatigue your various systems. Keep in mind, it's the breakdown of your muscles that promotes strength and growth through healing. It's the increase in your heart rate that improves cardiovascular health. It's the fatigue that helps you burn off extra stress and stay healthy-- as long as you give your body time to recover.
In other words, setting aside time for rest and recovery is the best way to keep you training at any age.
Regeneration should be focused on movement not muscles.
Our goal with regeneration is to reinforce good movement patterns that are efficient and lower the risk of injury. We use a fundamental modality of athletic regeneration and recovery every day within our studio called myofascial release.
When we understand the role that fascia plays with the musculoskeletal system, we see movement in a more effective way. Taking an overall systemic view of movement ensures we understand dysfunction and how to attack the problems causing it, not just chasing away pain.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue (primarily collagen) beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. Fascia is now regarded as the largest sensory organ in the body. It’s so fine-tuned that even minor changes in tension and tone can have large ramifications throughout the whole muscular system.
Fascia can become damaged through a number of causes: trauma, disease, imbalances, over-training, and under use to name a few. Approaching your pain and problems as an entire body issue creates a three-dimensional idea of musculoskeletal anatomy and an appreciation for whole-body patterns that distribute compensation in daily functions.
Steps for Effective Myofascial Release:
Effective myofascial exercises are relatively easy and straightforward. To start, find a spot that is tender or an area where you feel discomfort when you move. For best results, begin the athletic regeneration and recovery process near the center of the body and slowly work away to the extremities.
- Find a tender spot that is tight or uncomfortable.
- Place your body weight on a foam roller over this section, lying directly on the taut bands of muscle tissue that need to be released.
- Relax your body, breathe, and slowly roll through the length of the muscle. Your muscles will naturally tense up, especially when you hit a painful area. Ease into the pain and relax.
- Spend 1-2 minutes on each spot that requires attention. After you hit each spot, move your body through large ranges of motion (squats, lunges, etc) to reinforce the new movements.
How Does Myofascial Release Work?
Whether you opt for a trip to the massage therapist, choose to hit the foam roller, or both, it's important to have an understanding of what's happening in your body.
Myofascial release works by applying targeted pressure to trigger points. By softening this tissue and reducing tension, it allows for increased blood flow that promotes muscle recovery. This process helps reduce muscle soreness as the muscle and fascia regenerate. Myofascial release, adequate nutrition, and stretching before and after training are integral for all training programs.
Equipped with the tools for effective myofascial release exercises, you can perform basic athletic regeneration, recovery, and maintenance on your muscles, keep injury at bay, and move with optimal function to prepare for any challenges that the day brings.
Are you ready for some quality recovery and regeneration? Call the studio to ask about our R&R sessions!