4 Practices to Improve Performance and Recover Like a Pro

August 04, 2016

Recover Like A Pro, Dr. Jake Oergel

As a doctor that treats dozens of athletes on a daily basis, I have a front row seat for all the standard repetitive use injuries which show up in my office. While I see lots of triathletes, runners, ultra-runners, cyclists, etc…I also have a very large CrossFit focused practice. Injury rates amongst these activities are not any higher per sport but each sport definitely presents with the typical array of repetitive strains.

Let’s focus on the amazing sport of CrossFit.  In my practice, I have been treating CrossFit athletes for about 5 years and during certain months of the year the CrossFit athlete makes up a large portion of my practice. Unlike running and other sports CrossFit tends to get picked on a little more than other sports. Most of the time the reasons are unjust and don’t specifically apply to the sport but to the person performing the activities. At the end of the day any sport can be extremely harmful to the individual and that is the main purpose of this article.

“…without proper recovery, their success in the sport will always be limited.”

Every summer we have the privilege and honor of watching the best CrossFit athletes in the world compete. We admire their drive, commitment and determination. We strive to show up at the box and be just like them on Monday morning. There is just one piece of the puzzle missing that they don’t show on TV. The missing ingredient to their success is the amount of dedicated recovery program time relative to their movement program time.  They understand that without proper recovery that their success in the sport will always be limited.

That being said each and every one of us may not make it to the games each year but we have the ability to recover like a pro with just a little extra focused effort. The following are my top 4 practices that, if incorporated into your routine, will help you reach new levels of performance previously deemed out of reach.

“…the main goal should always be longevity. You want to maximize your ability to constantly improve.”

Mobility practice

I put this one number one because it probably is the number one activity we push to the side when in a time crunch. Your mobility practice should equal the amount of movement practice you commit to daily if not more. Most of us don’t have the luxury of training all day long and in exchange sit for work. The detrimental effects of sitting have been documented in detail. Those detriments lead to shortened hip flexors/psoas and anteriorly/internal rotated shoulders. Unfortunately without proper mobility in these two segments we are setting our bodies up for repeated failure.

The article below discusses 3 ways you can begin to improve your mobility practice, along with simple exercises to aid the process.

 

Nutrition

What you put in your body is exactly what you will get out of your body. You are 100% allowed to cheat at times as what is life like without some ice cream from time to time. However the more garbage you shove in your mouth the more you hinder the recovery process. The more low level systemic inflammation your body has to fight with 24/7. Not to mention the constant fatigue, inconsistent sleep patterns and overall instability. Pros don’t necessarily eat according to taste but eat according to performance benefits. Constantly supporting your bodies needs leads to improvement in and out of the box.

If you want to win the nutrition game, here are 4 keys to success which will help you complete a winning strategy.

4 Keys to Success If You Want to Win at Nutrition

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Functional Biomechanics

As a functional biomechanical trained chiropractor I have a deep understanding of the efficient and inefficient movement patterns that my athletes present with. The combination of Active Release Technique and chiropractic manipulation allows me to optimize an athletes potential for proper mobility while in the box. Professional athletes 100% of the time have a medical/physical therapy team in their corner making sure that injuries don’t occur and if they do that the injury is taken care of before it’s a problem. Seeking out a professional that understands the demands of your sport will not only keep you excited to give each WOD your best but also maintain your longevity in the sport.

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Training Philosophy

While incorporating stress upon the musculoskeletal system is extremely important for personal growth to much of a good thing can break down your body also. I typically use the slogan too much, too soon, too fast and too often with my athletes/patients. An individual’s growth is directly linked to the programming that the individual is under. This is why it is extremely important that the CrossFit athlete associate themselves with not only a box that is certified but one whose coaches have the appropriate training. Most pros have 2-5 individual coaches that design, implement and structure their training load throughout the year. The coaches help take the difficult process of programming for success out of the equation. If you feel like your falling into a negative trap then take a step back and ask your coach the purpose of the programming and if it appropriate for your current level.

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Take Away

The key to remember when arriving at the box each day is what is your goal for participating in CrossFit? While most would love to compete at the games in reality most of us will never be at that level. So the main goal should always be longevity. You want to maximize your ability to constantly improve. The constant improvement will build confidence and your drive to always reach new PR’s.

 

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