Ready to learn all about yoga for muscle recovery? Yoga has many restorative qualities. Is it the trick to keep your feeling super strong and accomplished after a workout?
Muscle recovery for athletes
Whether it’s a long run, a day of cycling, or even a visit to the gym – it’s normal for your body to ache afterward. Feeling sore after a workout or sport is common whether you exert yourself only once in a while or partake in physical activity daily.
Muscle recovery for athletes is of utmost importance and is a very critical part of sports and any kind of physical training. Is it neglected often? Yes! But understanding the science behind it can help you realize its importance and how it can have such a positive effect on your future training as well as your mood, mindset, and activity levels after a workout.
While earlier recovery was often overlooked and the only way athletes were presented with to succeed was to train longer and train harder, today, athletes are giving more and more important to recovery. Sports scientists are putting more emphasis on recovery and are finding many different measures to soothe post-exercise stressors as well as to find innovative ways to improve performance
What is muscle recovery?
Muscle recovery is the complex process where your muscle fibers rebuild after exertion and stress create microscopic damage that creates ‘muscle soreness’. During muscle recovery these muscle fibers heal stronger than before, making your muscles grow stronger.
Furthermore, as you recover after a workout your body needs fluids that are important in delivering the right nutrients to your vital organs and muscles in order to aid this recovery.
Another important aspect of this is protein synthesis that grows your muscles more and allows them to build up the capacity to handle additional exertion.
Why do muscles get sore?
When you train, you are pushing your muscles and depleting the amount of energy your body stores. Alongside this, when you work your muscles harder than they are used to, you are also producing metabolic waste and microscopic damage in your muscles leading to soreness. While that may sound a little overwhelming, it’s quite normal and your muscles have the ability to regenerate to their full potential.
Muscle soreness is also called DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) – and can happen when you start a new training regime or even increase the duration or intensity of your physical activity. Many activities such as lifting weights, for example, can also stretch out your muscle fibers and put them in a stressed state. Cycling or running also creates tension in the quads, hamstrings, and lower back resulting in these muscle groups getting tighter.
Research also indicated that DOMS usually sets in about 12-24 hours after a workout and the best way to deal with it is to keep on moving. While it’s common to be tempted to increase rest and limit movement once you’re feeling stiff and sore muscles taking over, hitting the couch may do more damage than good.
Truth is, it is in fact movement that allows you to recover faster. Of course, any low-intensity movements that are gentle on your sore muscles are the trick. Experts recommend Yoga, moderate walking, or even low-intensity swimming and running to some degree. Let’s find out more about it!
What helps muscles recover faster?
Let’s go over some of the things you can do immediately to help your muscles recover faster:
When you exercise or play sport, the sympathetic nervous system responds by triggering your sweat glands to produce perspiration. This process helps to regulate the internal body temperature by creating moisture on the surface of the body.
The bottom line, you are losing your body’s water reserves when you work out and this dehydration may be playing a great part in how you feel post-workout due to a loss of electrolytes and minerals that your body needs. Hydration can help your muscles to recover faster and enable them to repair the damage caused by intense exercising.
2. Eat well
There are a few rules of thumb in nutrition that go well with muscle recovery. Eat proteins post-workout can help to provide your body with the raw materials it needs to repair muscle damage caused by the exertion.
As your body loses energy while working out, it’s also recommended to eat carbohydrates to refill the stores of glycogen for energy upkeep. An overall balanced diet can also do wonders for your performance both pre and post-workout! Read all about proper nutrition and how it can help your performance here.
3. Lifestyle and activity
In the end, so many parts of recovery are all about your lifestyle and the level of activity you get yourself used to. While a good lifestyle is drinking and eating well, it goes beyond that to encompass good amounts of rest, and other activities that improve your blood flow.
Pro athletes also space out their routine to alternate between training and conditioning in order to get the skills and strength that can help them improve their performance!
Yoga for muscle recovery
So, is yoga good for muscle recovery? And is it OK to do yoga with sore muscles? The answer is simple: yes, it is.
As a Yoga beginner, you can already start to create a routine that helps you in catering to muscle recovery. While in the past many people believed one must have a specific kind of lifestyle or belief system to practice yoga, it is now becoming more inclusive for everyone. By everyone we also mean Athletes like Lebron James, Conan Mcgregor, Pete Sampras and so many more.
Yoga has been seen as a perfect ally to training not just for its therapeutic effect but also for many other benefits. Yoga in athletic training is valuable for preventing injuries in explosive sports such as running, basketball as well as tennis. As the role of rest in an athletes recovery becomes more and more important, a yoga session that is well suited not just helps with a physiological effect but also benefits in a psychological manner
Quote: The key component seems to be yoga’s potential to help athletes become more attuned to their potential, to help athletes become more attuned to their bodily processes, needs, and signals and thus be able to recognize minor symptoms before they become major ones.
Tatiana V. Ryba
What Yoga offers is active recovery which is something everyone can benefit from!
The best type of yoga for muscle recovery
What’s the best type of yoga for muscle recovery? Here below, you get a 10-step flow. Plus, you learn how often you should practice yoga.
The 10-step flow for sore muscles
What’s the best type of yoga for muscle recovery? Here’s the 10-step flow that will help your muscles recover faster.
Begin by sitting on the floor with the legs extended. Next, bring your feet together with the knees spread to either side. Place your hands on your feet, or hold your toes. Stay for 6 breaths and let your knees come closer to the ground with each breath while you lower your chest towards the ground with each breath.
Begin in a tabletop position and on an inhale lift the tailbone, arch the back, open the chest and look up. While you exhale, tuck the tailbone, round the back vertebrae by vertebrae, and tuck the chin to the chest. Repeat this for 6 breaths and make sure you arch and lift on each inhale and round and tuck the chin on every exhale.
From a kneeling position shift your hips back onto your heels and with your toes untucked, release your forehead to the ground and relax. Child’s pose is all about giving your muscles some time to rest and focus on how your body feels. Breathe deeply and stay as long in the pose as you like.
From a standing position with feet hip-distance apart, bend both legs and come into a deep squat until the knees are pointing upwards and the calves are close to the thighs and bring your hips to almost touching the ground. Make sure your heels are in contact with the ground and your upper body is engaged with your chest open.
Start in a high plank position and step your foot in between your hands into the runner’s lunge. Make sure your knee doesn’t extend beyond your ankle and your toes and knees are all pointing forward. Press into your left heel and straighten your back leg and keep your breath steady
Wide-legged forward fold
Start in standing and then distance your legs to create a good stretch in your quads and thighs. With a deep breath straighten your upper body and then lower it towards the ground by hinging at the hips. Stay here for a few deep breaths and deeper your fold with every exhale.
From a wide-legged stance face forward and create distance between your feet. Keep your front foot parallel to the mat with toes pointing forward and create a 45 degree angle with the back food. Lower onto your front leg till your thigh and parallel to the ground and your knee is stacked right above your ankle. Raise both arms straight and face forward.
Stay in Warrior I and with an inhale raise both arms towards the sky and open your chest. You may look ahead or look up towards your hands. With every breath, lower your hips towards the ground and open your chest. Stay in Warrior II for a few breaths or until you feel a good stretch on your legs and your hip opening. Repeat on the other side.
Perfect for a good stretch for the quads and legs. Start in a high plank position and extend one leg and then bring it forward with the knee to the ground. Bend your front leg for pigeon pose with your back knee also louching the ground and your toes tucked. For a grounded pigeon, lower your elbows to the ground and go deeper with every breath. Repeat on the other side.
A good and relaxing Shavasana can go a long way. This final resting pose for the end of every yoga practice is a sure winner that will bring awareness to your body and help you relax. During this pose lie flat on your back and let both feet drop to the outside and have your arms alongside your body with your palms facing up. Practice deep breathing and stay for as long as you like.
Additionally, you could also try out this full-body recovery class by Skill Yoga!
How often to do yoga for muscle recovery
For best results, try to practice Yoga at least three times a week. For a focus on muscle recovery, you can switch your rest days in your weekly schedule to restorative yoga days. This would enable you to focus on your body, your breathing and bring more awareness into your general training. Yoga allows the perfect time to balance your body’s needs and can work wonders as a moderate-intensity workout. The routine also allows you to be more in tune with your body and can help reduce the chance of injuries in the long term.
That being said, remember that rest days are very important and yoga is all about understanding your body, your performance, and knowing when you need a break to recoup your energy levels.
How to take your practice forward
While breaks from everyday routines are important, you can also avoid being a total couch potato on rest days. Take a small walk, do a bit of stretching, or even a short yoga class. Just remember, the key is understanding your body and what feels good!
There you have it! Now you know how to use yoga for muscle recovery. Next: try Skill Yoga for free to start improving your performance right away.