There is one important part of fitness and sports training that too often gets too little attention – the maintenance and recovery practices – but when you remember to do them your life in between training and actually also the training itself is much more fun and enjoyable 🙂 !
Proper maintenance and recovery practices like stretching, sauna and massage, can
improve your flexibility, reduce post-exercise muscle soreness, increase your sporting or exercise performance, reduce muscle tension, minimize your risk of injury and help you relax.
Stretching before the training wakes up the muscles, vestibular and nerve system and mobilizes your joints preparing your body for the workout. Direct impact is the increased muscle strength production capability and flexibility of the body. Dynamic stretching also improves the concentration and prepares your mind to the coming workout. Dynamic stretches involve taking your muscles through a large range of movement in a steady and rhythmical fashion. Dynamic stretches include leg swings like pendulum swings we had in the Booty Challenge program, arm circles and other body weight movements.
Stretching after the training is meant to improve the recovery by returning the muscle back to its normal length. The stretching and cool-down exercises after training can improve recovery by 70%. After-training stretches can be light and medium length, less than a minute per exercise. They should be performed right after the training or in between workout. These stretches are meant to maintain or improve your flexibility depending on the length of the stretch. Sometimes when your muscle is really overly tensed and sore it might be good to perform very short repetitive stretches.
Stretching can also improve basic mobility and should be also performed separately as its own workout 2-3 times a week. This type of stretching lasts longer, 1-3 minutes per exercise. Yoga and pilates exercises are very good for your body maintenance and recovery.
Your muscles need to be warm even before stretching as cold muscles are less pliable and more prone to injury. You can warm up before stretching by performing some cardio for 5-10 minutes. You can also warm up your muscles eg by foam rolling. Foam rolling also helps to remove the tension in your fascia and is a very efficient for maintenance and recovery by itself.
Other strength training maintenance and recovery exercises are:
- We Finns are known for our saunas. There are plenty of scientifically proven health impacts of sauna. The warmth of sauna improves blood circulation, relaxes the muscles, increases the removal of the metabolic waste, burns calories, relieves stress and relaxes our body and mind.
- It is also recommended to do light training, the so called recovery training, the next day eg walking or jogging. This can ease with the muscle soreness and remove swolling even 40%.
- According to an Australian study massage 3 hours after training can ease soreness about 30%. You can also massage yourself and use the foam roller to help massage your muscles.
- Cold treatment after training helps to recover and eases with the soreness. Cold affect causes a positive stress reaction in our bodies. In Finland it is common to dip into an ice cold water, like a hole in the ice (river, lake or sea). Many people find this very relaxing, removing stress and also they claim to have less flus during the winter. You don’t have to dip into ice hole but there are also cold bags which you can place on your sore or injured body part. Cold relieves with the infectional reactions. The cold affects like a hormone injection as the stress hormone noradrenaline and cortisol starts to inject into the body. These hormones are known to relieve pain and make you feel good after exercise.
- 368-training system is also good principle to be followed as activating warm-up or restorative training for muscle maintenance. 368 is physical training system based on functional training, mobility skills training and the development of the principles of athleticism which proceeds systematically with multidimensional training entirely. Number 3 refers to three levels of motion and direction we use in normal movement: front to back, side to side and circulation. The 6 refers to six anatomically important positions – ankle, knee, hip, lumbar spine, thoracic spine and cervical spine – which create a kinetic chain of eight (number 8) muscle activity chains to create a movement. By following principals of 368-training system you can make sure that all the muscles part of your kinetic chain are taken care of in maintenance training.
How do Booty ladies maintain their bootys?
”I find that the short sprints I do as part of my maintenance running program help me to recover. I also like to swim in the cold lake water (in Finland the waters are cold even during the summer 😉 ). During each training I do set of stretches following 368 principles and at home I also use foam roller.”
”I use foam roller to soften my muscles, the back, booty, hamstrings, calves, quads and front legs. Then I perform several stretching exercises like deep lunge, ankle to knee, quad stretch lying down and hamstring stretches with the rope and I combine the hip twist stretch into this. I like to end the stretching with scorpio exercise which is really good for your hips and back followed by downward and upward facing dogs and cat stretches known from yoga. I actually do these exercises every evening before going to bed and find them very relaxing. These stretches help also to ease the symptoms of the restless feet that I have”
”I love foam rolling, even though it hurts SOO much! My definite favorites with the roller are quads and glutes (even though they hurt the most!). My biggest problem has always been remembering to stretch after my workouts. Going to fitness classes has helped this due to the quick five-minute stretching at the end of each class, so even though it’s not too much it’s something. When I do stretch, I do both ‘traditional’ and dynamic stretches. I find dynamic stretching to help with my mobility and flexibility so I’d definitely recommend trying some in combination with traditional stretching when doing bootybuilding!”
Booty training usually includes compound and multi-joint exercises like different variations of squats and lunges which activate also on other muscles like your quads and hamstrings not to mention the impact they have on your hips and middle body. So its not strange if you have lower back pain when you do booty training and don’t take care of stretching. Luckily booty stretching often affects those other muscles just like the training does.
Here are some good and efficient glute stretches:
- pigeon stretch
Place your front lower leg crossways onto a fitness mat. Now stretch your other leg back as far behind you as you can. Lean forward to increase the stretch in your glute muscle. Hold this for few seconds and then swap sides.
2. Pretzel Stretch/ankle to knee
Lie flat on your back, bend your knees, keep your feet on the floor. Cross your left ankle over the right leg. Reach down and grab your right thigh or below your right knee and pull it up towards your chest. Repeat with other leg.
3. Hip Twist Stretch
Lie on your back on the mat. Stretch your right leg up and grab the sole of your feet with your left hand or you can also hold a strap with your both hands and place it around the sole of your feet. Push your left leg away from you. Reach your right arm out to the side. Slowly lower the right leg to the left. Keep your right sholder on the floor. Release the back of your right leg. Hold for several seconds and repeat on the other side.
4. Hip, lower back and leg stretch
Lie on your back on the mat. Stretch your right leg up and grab the sole of your feet with your rigth hand or you can also hold a strap with your both hands and place on the sole of your feet. Push your left leg away from you. Slowly lower the right leg to the right. Keep the left hip down. Open up the groin and stretch the back of your leg. Push the left thigh down. Hold for several seconds and repeat on the other side.
5. Hip and lower back stretch
Lie on the floor with your knees bend and your feet flat. Cross your right leg over your left. Let the knees fall to the right as your right leg is pulling the left knee down. Allow the hip and the lower back to let go. Hold for several seconds and repeat on the other side.
6. Quad Stretch
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Place your hands right behind your back on the floor. Tug your right leg back right beside your hip with your knee fully bent back. You can also walk back your hands as far as you can go and stretch them behind you and rest your back on the floor to deepen the stretch. Try to keep your right knee on the floor. Keep your belly tugged in and your lower back sinking on the ground. Hold for several seconds and repeat on the other side.
7. Butterfly Stretch
The butterfly stretch will stretch your glutes as well as your hamstrings. Sit up straight on the floor or on a yoga mat. Bend both your legs so the bottoms of your feet touch. Hold your ankles with both hands and slowly release the tension in your legs to allow the knees to drop toward the floor. Go slowly, and don’t force it. Hold for several seconds. You can also lean forward slightly to get more of a stretch.
8. Standing ankle to knee
Start by standing up and bend your knees as if you’re sitting. Cross your right ankle over the left knee. Repeat with other leg. This exercise requires a good balance.
9. Deep lunge stretch
This exercise will stretch your hip and hamstrings. Start by standing and take a long step forward with your left foot bending your knee. Place your right knee on the floor or ground. Raise your hand and reach it upwards to deepen the stretch. Hold for few seconds and repeat on the other side.