From the Trainer’s Room: Take note on how to recover faster for your next game
The tail end of the season can include tournaments, showcases and playoffs where teams may have to play multiple games on the same day or weekend.
These busy weekends can take a toll on a player’s body, causing fatigue and soreness that can lead to decreased performance on the ice, as well as injuries. A quality off-ice training program includes stretching and cool-down exercises at the end of the session to decrease muscle soreness and improve flexibility. Leaving these recovery techniques out after being on the ice can be detrimental to the athlete, sometimes leaving the athlete with increased muscle soreness and limited flexibility that can lead to decreased performance and increased incidence of injury.
A simple program following practice and games that include cool-down exercises, massage, flexibility and mobility movements and nutrition can lead to quicker recovery time so an athlete is better prepared for the next event.
Following a game or practice:
• 5-minute light jog to cool down
• Using a foam roll or lacrosse ball, roll back and forth 10 times each way massaging the following muscle groups: glutes, IT Bands, quadriceps, hip flexors, calves and groins
• Static stretching of 15-30 seconds on each side of the following muscle groups: glutes, hamstrings, groins, hip flexors and calves
• Ingest some sort of protein source such as a shake or bar that contains approximately 200-300 calories and 15-25 grams of protein within 30 minutes of the end of the activity.
• Eat a well-balanced meal within two hours of the end of the activity
Chris Phillips ATC, CSCS, is a former athletic trainer in the NHL with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Washington Capitals and currently owns Compete Sports Performance and Rehab.