Thriving Magazine, September 2022, Issue 15

What is The Best Recovery Posture During High- Intensity Interval Training?

I can remember doing two-a-day workouts with my basketball team that included relay suicide runs and sprints up a long hill. When we were waiting for our teammate to hand off or as we got to walk down the hill, coach would say, “Put your hands on your head” to help us recover faster and get our breathing to slow down. Personally, I never found that effective and now, 20-some years later, I know why.

When your chest is elevated and your spine is hyperextended, your diaphragm’s ability to move through its full range of motion is challenged and the respiratory mechanics are inefficient to recover quickly. Allow me to explain a little bit more… A key part of recovery is relaxation. To get an overactive or tonic muscle to relax, it must lengthen. Your diaphragm muscle relaxes and lengthens

Putting your hands on your head or behind your head is not an effective recovery position because of the posture it puts your ribcage and spine in.

when the ribs slide down, internally rotate, and retract back for the thoracic spine to flex. This ribcage posture better positions your respiratory mechanics to slow down, relax and recover faster than when your ribs are flared, elevated, and externally rotated with the spine extended.

Just like your elbow moves through a range of motion to influence the bicep, your thoracic spine and ribcage will move through a range of motion to influence how your diaphragm contracts and lengthens.

Your diaphragm is your main breathing muscle and it, too, must move through a range of motion to lengthen and contract. Think about your biceps — if your bicep is contracted, your elbow will flex so that muscle can shorten. To get your bicep to relax and lengthen, you have to straighten your elbow.

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