The Tools and Tech That Can Level Up Your Recovery: Occlusion

Occlusion Training myomaster

Why it works 

When you think of occlusion, your mind probably goes straight to weight training. But did you know occlusion – or blood flow restriction therapy – can also be a powerful tool for injury recovery? The science behind it is pretty straightforward – low weight training with heavy weight gains. When recovering from injury, your main aim is getting your body back to full strength ASAP. But you also need to be wary of the stress being put on vulnerable tissue, joints and muscles – you don’t want to cause further damage that could write your sporting ambitions off completely. Occlusion therapy allows you to work the affected area safely and with impressive results.  It can benefit almost anyone suffering from injury or extreme weakness of a limb, but is particularly transformative for people with Nonunion fractures, tendon apathy, tendon repair or in need of ACL reconstruction. 

The tech 

When working with blood restriction therapy, it’s important to get the right kit so you can do it safely and effectively. Our MyoCuff comes in two sizes – one for the upper limb and one for the lower limb. Both cuffs work exactly the same – you secure the cuff around the area you want to focus on, increase the pressure using the pump – until you feel real compression, secure the valve and start your workout. The exercises you’ll do will depend on which area you are trying to rehabilitate. If you’re dealing with a hamstring injury you could do some heel flicks, and if you’re trying to work your shoulder you might want to work your biceps with a resistance band. The power of the MyoCuff is that it can be incorporated into any workout – with no wires or bulky equipment holding you back. Whichever part of your body you are trying to work, this great bit of kit will ensure the effectiveness of each exercise skyrockets, without risking further injury. Each session with the MyoCuff will see the growth hormone heading to your muscles increase up to 300% – which is gold dust if you are trying to repair your muscles.

The Tools and Tech That Can Level Up Your Recovery: Compression

Why it works 

When you’re pushing yourself to your physical limits – your muscles need oxygen, and lots of it. Athletes all have a pretty strong cardiovascular system but during training your heart can’t always deliver oxygen to your muscles at the rate required. When this happens, you’ll start producing lactic acid. That burning sensation and fatigue you start to feel – that’s your muscles being starved of oxygen. This lactic acid build up is what’s going to cause pain and muscles soreness. Compression clothing helps combat this by being tighter on your extremities and promoting blood flow back to the heart – ramping up the rate that lactic acid is removed from your muscles. 

The tech 

Training in compression tights is definitely not a bad idea and wearing compression clothing after your workout can improve circulation and oxygenation of your blood by 15%.  But if you want to see the real benefits of this technique, you need dynamic compression in your life – like the MyoPump system. The leg pumps slip on just as easily as compression tights, but use technology to mimic the natural movements of the legs after an intense workout. This means you can cool down like a pro and reduce your risk of DOMs, whilst relaxing on the sidelines or in your living room. The two settings work to remove lactic acid from the muscles and then compress and release the full leg to get the blood flow really moving to your lower body – so that oxygen gets exactly where you need it to be, in the fastest way possible. 

The Tools and Tech That Can Level Up Your Recovery: Percussive Therapy

Recovering from a massive training session is not always technical.  When it comes to nutrition, hydration and warm down, there are rules you can follow but, ultimately it’s about getting to know your own body and what works for you. 

However, there is tech out there that can help you take your recovery – and performance – to the next level. After each training session you want to optimise the way your muscles grow and repair so you can be ready to hit the ground running next time you train – and if you’re still sticking to simple stretches and foam rollers, you are missing out. Here are some of the best tools that can level up your recovery. 

Percussive Therapy

Why it works 

Percussive massage is not something you’re likely to find at a spa day. It’s a serious technique that provides rapid bursts of pressure to the muscle. Athletes love it because it speeds up muscle growth and repair by stimulating blood flow to the muscles that need it the most – meaning they can keep their progress moving on up. This form of massage has a long list of benefits including:

  • Breaking down scar tissue after injury, easing stiff joints and increasing range of movement. 
  • It also helps to elongate muscle fiber and relax fascia. 
  • It also helps reduce DOMS quickly 
  • Reduces pain by disrupting the nerve signals to the brain that cause that post-race burn.
  • Allows you target a specific set of muscles and work on them as much as needed

The tech 

Sports masseurs traditionally use a series of light strokes to give this effect, but when it comes to percussive therapy, nothing does it quite like a massage gun. They can work faster, harder and – unlike sports massage or manual myofascial release tools, like foam rollers – they can hyper-target a specific area. 

Another huge benefit is that athletes can take full control over their recovery  – with different heads for different niche issues – and means they can optimise their recovery in the comfort of their own home. 

If you’re looking for real power, nothing matches the MyoPro – which penetrates 70% deeper into the muscles than other percussive massage tools on the market. For a slightly lighter pressure, and if you’re after something you can use on the go, the compact MyoLite is the perfect addition to a big training session kit. 

Cyclist Recovery – How to do it like a pro

cyclist recovery

The UK cycling community is huge and growing all the time. It’s estimated that 1.3 million people got back on their bikes during lockdown. But the difference between an ambitious amateur and a seasoned pro isn’t always in how they train – it’s how they recover. Here are 4 ways you can recover like a pro cyclist and start reaching your goals even faster. 

Cyclist Recovery: Cool Down 

When you’re feeling pumped after a big ride, it’s tempting to jump off your bike and get on with your day. However, it’s important to remember that how you wrap up your last session can impact your next. When we cycle blood gets pooled in our lower body – and so does metabolic waste. This can not only inhibit your recovery but also impact your overall progress and performance. Make time at the end of each ride to do at least ten minutes spinning at a lower gear. This will help redistribute the blood around your body and speed up recovery time. 

Stretching after any exercise is an essential part of optimising recovery, but for cyclists it’s crucial. We’ve all felt the hamstring burn after a limit-pushing track session, but when cycling at a competitive level your whole body is engaged – from your core to your shoulders. To ensure you’re always primed to work at peak condition, full-body stretches and mobility should be incorporated into both your warm-down sessions and weekly training routine. Think calf stretches, yoga poses like downward dog and if you need some extra inspiration, check out British Cycling’s Mobility Guide. 

Cyclist Recovery: Compression & Massage

Just as we set goals for training and competitions, we should set them for recovery. The main goal of recovery time is to get the blood redistributed around your body as quickly as possible. This will help myofascial release, reduce lactic acid build-up and promote muscle regeneration.  

Massage is absolutely key to all of the above. Whilst you can’t always have a sports masseuse and physiotherapist waiting for you at the finish line, handheld massage guns can have the same impact, on the go or in the comfort of your own home. Tools like the MyoPro use percussive massage to speed up recovery time and reduce the chance of sore, tired muscles – so you are ready to get back to your training schedule straight away. This technique has also proven to reduce the risk of injury and improve mobility – so MyoPro could help you optimise your performance as well as recovery. 

Compression is also a powerful recovery tool. By wearing compression clothing for just 15 minutes after a workout, you’ll improve circulation and oxygenation of your blood by 15% and increase toxin elimination by around 13%. And that’s just with regular compression tights. If you want to take it up a level, the MyoPump pulse compression leg pumps are scientifically proven to enhance and accelerate recovery, reduce DOMs and decrease pain.  

Cyclist Recovery: Recovery Rides 

Your body is fine-tuned to recover as much as possible when it gets the chance. If you step away from the bike for a day, it will grab the opportunity to go into shutdown mode. Whilst rest days are crucial, that doesn’t mean you should be totally static. A relaxed recovery ride will keep your body awake and limber. That way, you’ll be primed and ready to power up at your next training session. 

You should work recovery rides into your training schedule once or twice a week. Always try to have one in the diary for the day after a big race. Ride for 30-60 minutes on a flat course that isn’t going to push your heart rate too much. You might want to throw in a few low gear sprints to help prevent heavy legs, but otherwise keep it pretty low energy – you want to aid recovery rather than add to your fatigue. 85% of cyclists push too hard on their recovery rides, so aim to be in the 15% who are optimising both their recovery and future performance.

Cyclist Recovery: Nutrition 

When working at peak level, your body is a machine – and machines need fuel. A good rule to remember for recovery is the 3 Rs – Rehydrate, Replenish, Repair. You want to make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids for the rest of the day after a big session. Water will go some way to actively rehydrating your body, but you also need to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat. Sports drinks containing sodium promote absorption of water into the small intestine and help reduce visits to the toilet – perfect to rehydrate you.

Drinks with sugar can also start to help build up your depleted glycogen stores. However, you need to fuel up on carbs to really replenish them. Simple carbohydrates – like white rice – are great directly after a tough ride as they release glycogen faster. Later in the day go for complex-carbs – like sweet potatoes. They’ll continue to increase your glycogen stores but are also full of nutrients  like fibre and vitamin C. When it comes to muscle repair – protein is your biggest nutritional ally. The muscles torn during exercise will rebuild during recovery – and protein can help them come back bigger and stronger. Try to eat a protein rich snack or meal – directly after your training session or race – peanut butter energy balls and a chicken and rice bowl dinner is our go-to!

For more tips and advice on athlete level recovery – join Team Myo Master over on Instagram.

How recovery could help take your performance to the next level

If you’re training for an endurance event, we know you’ll be pushing yourself to the limits and getting serious about nutrition but are you dedicating the same amount of discipline to your recovery time? 

As professional athletes and designers of the MyoPro and MyoLite, we know a thing or two about the importance of recovery. Whatever your sport, recovery should always be central to your preparation and aftercare.

Stay off the sidelines – Recover to prevent injury

Intense training schedules coupled with the repetitive muscle use involved in running long distances, make endurance athletes a prime candidate for injury. Common overuse injuries include medial tibial stress syndrome, achilles tendinopathy and lower extremity stress fractures aka our old friend, shin splints. Any one of these could keep you on the sidelines for weeks, impacting your plans for both competing and training.

As with most things in the body, prevention is better than cure, and the right approach to recovery could protect you from serious injury. After each training session, your body needs ample time to heal before you go again, otherwise the strain you’re putting on your muscles will increase every time you work out – ultimately leading to injury. Multiple rest days are ideal, but in the build up to a competition, that’s not always possible. This is where massage comes in. Massage actively relieves muscle spasms and aids in the pliability of scar tissue, optimising your recovery and helping to reduce the effects of overuse. Regular sports massages are ideal, but you can reap the same injury preventing benefits by using at-home tech, such as the MyoPro after every training session.

Boost your performance – Massage for stamina and strength

For endurance athletes who need to push through the toughest of barriers, physical stamina is everything. So, whilst it might sound counterproductive, trust us when we say that recovery can actually help improve your stamina and strength – just as much as training can. 

It can be tempting to hit the training sessions hard in the lead up to a race, pushing yourself a little further each time. And we’re all for that! But what you do post-work out is just as important. If you don’t give your muscles enough opportunity to recover, your performance and stamina building is going to stall due to fatigue, overuse and even burnout. Hydration, nutrition, sleep and myofascial release, through massage all impact how your body responds to exercise. During recovery your immune system works to heal the damage that’s happened to your muscles whilst you were training – and massage will encourage those muscles to come back even stronger. This healing can only happen if you give yourself the time to rest so invest in your recovery time, and you’ll start to notice an improvement in your stamina and strength before you know it.  

Have your heart set on winning? – Hydrate for cardiovascular  health

Exercise is awesome for your heart, but in endurance athletes, months or years of repetitive impact could lead to a potentially harmful heart condition known as myocardial fibrosis. To avoid this, you want your heart to return to its resting heart rate as soon as possible after training or racing. 

The clue is in the name – to get back to a resting-heart-rate, you need to rest. Whilst running is great for improving your cardiovascular health, overdoing it can put a strain on your heart – as well as every other muscle in your body. Taking your recovery seriously can speed up the process of getting your heart rate back to normal. Ensure you’re taking it easy between sessions and getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep – especially before or after a race. Hydrating during your recovery period is also crucial for looking after your heart. Studies have shown that your heart rate returns to its pre workout level much faster if you drink fluids during and after intense exercise – so ensure you’re drinking enough in the first few hours following training, and of course stay hydrated during races. 

Get your head in the game  – Rest for mental resilience

But it doesn’t matter how strong your body is, if your mind is struggling, you’ll never be able to push through those last few miles. Dedicating time to recovery not only gives your body a chance to rest, but it allows your mind to relax too. During races and training sessions, your body is flooded with adrenaline and cortisol. Whilst these hormones play a key role in helping you achieve your fitness goals, when they are at a consistently high level, it can have a detrimental impact on your physical and mental health.

When you’re not training, you want to get your body back into its parasympathetic nervous system – the opposite of fight or flight mode. In this state, your mind and body are able to heal and recover properly, meaning you’ll be sharp and ready to come back mentally and physically fit for your next race. A great way to do this is with active recovery – like yoga or pilates – and massage can even help, by stimulating the vagus nerve down your spine. Research has also proven that getting enough sleep leads to increased performance and mental well-being in athletes, so remember to get plenty of shut eye before taking on your next challenge.

How to optimise your recovery in hot weather

Dedicated athletes train come rain, shine – or heatwave. Working out in the sun can be way more enjoyable than battling wet, challenging weather. But constant heat exposure coupled with intense exercise can cause your body temperature to climb – which can play havoc with your recovery. Here are our top tips for recovering like an athlete during the hot, summer months.

Stay Hydrated

Ok, we know this is Hot Weather Advice 101, but drinking plenty of water is the only way to maintain performance in this heat. It’s also the easiest way to protect your body from injury and exhaustion. Afterall, you can’t reach your next PB if you’re passing out from heat stroke. Training in hot weather increases the thermal stress on your body – aka. makes you sweat a lot. When we sweat we lose body mass and even a 2% reduction can have a negative impact on your performance. Both your recovery and your progress will be faster if you make sure you’re getting enough fluids before, during and after your workout.

Why is hydration important for recovery?

During recovery, the muscles that have broken down whilst you were training rebuild using muscle protein synthesis. This process is key for your development as an athlete, but guess what? It doesn’t work as well if you’re dehydrated. But it’s not only your muscles that need to recover after a hot workout. Studies have shown that your heart rate returns to its pre workout level much faster if you drink fluids during and after intense exercise – which is especially important for endurance athletes.

Hydrate like an athlete

You should aim to drink 150% of the fluid weight you lost during exercise – so the actual amount will depend on how sweaty you get when you’re really pushing yourself. But going home and downing 8 pints of water straight away isn’t going to cut it. It will just result in less fluid being absorbed and more trips to the toilet. It’s better to keep a consistent level of hydration over a few hours following your workout.

Get some sleep

We all know what it’s like to spend a hot, summer night tossing and turning. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of quality to sleep to give the body and the mind the chance to relax and rebuild after the waking day. However, just as athletes need to eat more calories than someone who isn’t in training, they also require more sleep.Humans are built to sleep in cooler climates, and our body temperature naturally decreases come bedtime. When faced with soaring temperatures, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you can get the rest you need.

Why is sleep important for recovery?

We are huge advocates for the important role that sleep plays in recovery. Whilst you’re getting your shut eye, your body is busy rebuilding and rejuvenating . It does this by releasing Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Experts estimate that around 75% of HGH is released during sleep, so it makes sense that your physical recovery and progress will be impacted by sleep deprivation. Getting less than your recommended hours of sleep can also affect your overall performance. Reaction times will be down, fatigue will be up and your goals will be harder to achieve.

Sleep like an athlete

To optimise your sleep in hot weather, you’ve got to keep your bedroom as cool as possible. Sleep with the window open to allow ventilation and, if it’s really scorching, have a fan directly facing you. Not only will a fan maintain a comfortable temperature in the room but it will also encourage evaporative cooling, so any sweat you produce doesn’t sit on the skin, blocking your pores. Hydration is once again key for keeping your body temperature low, so make sure you have a cool drink before bed. You might also want to take a cold shower at the end of the day and some athletes even freeze a pillowcase ahead of time, so they have a night long cooling sensation whilst they sleep.

Invest in massage

Of course we couldn’t talk about recovery without talking about massage. Massage has untold benefits for both your recovery and your performance. Whilst sleep and hydration are essential, investing in a post-work out massage will elevate your recovery time to a whole new level. It can help increase range of motion and flexibility, reduce inflammation and pain, relax the body, and prevent injury – totally transforming the way you train.

Why is massage important for recovery?

When your core body temperature rises it triggers a rapid dispersion of blood into the capillaries of the skin – which is why a red face is the sign of a good workout. This is your body’s attempt to cool you down, but in the process it reduces the amount of fluid and blood heading to your muscles. When your muscles require it the most, they are experiencing a lack of oxygen and nutrients. This reduces blood circulation to your tired muscles groups and also makes it harder for them to reduce waste products, like lactic acid. When these toxins build up you can feel sore and recovery can be slower – meaning your next workout could be even more challenging.

Massage like an athlete

You might think that professional athletes all depend on a team of sports massage experts to get them fighting fit and ready for their next performance. However, many are now taking restorative massage into their own hands with tech solutions like the MyoPro. This technology uses percussive massage to interject pain frequencies into the muscles – dramatically reducing soreness and DOMS so you can get off the sidelines and back in the game faster and stronger. It also increases blood circulation, your muscles can get more of the nutrients they need and get rid of the lactic acid build up that could hold you back next time you come to train.

 

Five Ways Percussive Therapy Can Transform Your Performance

percussive therapy massage gun

So, what is a percussion massage?

Percussion therapy uses a revolutionary handheld device to jolt target areas of the body with gentle pulses of pressure. This action softens muscle tissue in areas where we experience intense stiffness and injury. By rapidly pulsing the muscle fibres with a gentle wave of pressure, percussive therapy alleviates pain and increases blood flow to ease stiffness and soreness.  This decreases post-workout muscle pain and cramps, which accelerates the body’s ability to heal and recover.

Improved performance

We’ve all had that intense training session that leaves us with an immediate sense of euphoria. It’s after the euphoria fades that the sore, tight muscles set in and we start to feel the need for rest & recovery. As the physical demand in professional and amateur sports rises every year recovery becomes increasingly vital. Percussive therapy simply speeds up  recovery time meaning  you’re not sore and stiff in training the next day allowing you to push harder and continuously improve on yesterday’s margins. 

Powerful Pain Relief 

Studies on chronic pain have showed that deep brain stimulation at frequencies of approximately 50mgHz can produce pain relief effects. The motion of percussive therapy devices is typically around 65 – 70 mgHz. The nervous system’s hierarchy is programmed to pay attention to the higher frequency stimulus over the pain stimulus. This is important because the vibration and amplitude on the body of percussive therapy devices such as the MyoPro send signals to the brain faster than pain signals can travel. This high frequency vibration actually overrides pain signals and so pain is significantly decreased.

Reduced Chance of Injury 

Percussive therapy devices can be used before, during or after exercise. George Crook owner of F45 Blackwall says his athletes often use it prior to warming up. The result is a much crisper warm-up, which leads to a better overall workout. “The feedback from our athletes is that they warm up a lot quicker, and feel they are getting a more thorough warm up and feel looser heading into training. As a coach, we love that,” Crook says.

Improved mobility and flexibility 

Your muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints, all work together to aid mobility. With the consistent use of a percussive therapy tool such as the MyoPro, the joints will be more flexible and less prone to strains and sprains. The improved blood flow circulation will result in more relaxed muscles and fascial tissue improving range of motion leaving you with the added advantages of enhanced athletic performance and improved stimulation of the body’s natural lubricants to help keep the body flexible.

Return to form after injury

Percussive therapy is used worldwide by physiotherapists as an essential tool to advance patients recovery after injury, it assists in breaking down internal scar tissue while also increasing circulation both of which speeds up healing time. Percussion therapy also relaxes thickened connective tissue, helping to break down adhesions and internal scar tissue.

Screen-Shot-2019-07-16-at-18.29.48