Using The Aerobic Energy System to Promote Recovery

Using The Aerobic Energy System To Promote Recovery

Last week, Dr. Anthony Falco discussed how you can decipher the differences between pain and soreness, and when it may be appropriate to see your physical therapist or physician. This week I want to give some strategies that can be used in order to deal with muscle soreness and promote recovery after high intensity bouts of physical activity. Essentially, you now know you do not need to see a physician, so what is next? Once I give you a full breakdown of what makes cardio recovery focused I will give some methods you can use in your own programming.

The Different Energy Systems of The Body

Essentially, there are three main energy systems:

-       Alactic

o   Immediate Energy System

o   Utilized for activities involving short bursts

o   Example: Short, max-effort sprints

o   Less than 15 seconds

-       Lactic

o   Moderate bursts of activity at high intensities

o   30-60 second range

-       Aerobic (Oxidative)

o   Low intensity bouts of activity for long durations

o   Can be steady state (continuous) or interval based

For the sake of this discussion we are going to focus on the aerobic (oxidative) energy system as a means of promoting recovery. While the aerobic energy system is utilized to promote recovery between bouts of anaerobic  (alactic) activity, we are going to focus on its role in recovery and assistance in dealing with soreness/fatigue. With this being said, it is essential to perform training in a range of 60-75% of your max heart rate (220-age). This range will ensure you are aiming to stimulate the recovery process.

How To Perform Aerobic Recovery Training

        As I mentioned, it is imperative to ensure that you are performing lower intensity bouts that have longer durations when trying to recover. This can be done in a multitude of ways.

-       Steady State Walking

o   This is the easiest method to use. Simply walk at a moderate pace for 20-30 minutes.

-       Assault Bike/Sled Tempos

o   Perform 30/30 (30 seconds of work alternated with 30 seconds of rest) with either an empty sled push or on a bike. I like to cue my athletes to perform each activity at 75% intensity.

-       Bodyweight Circuits

o   Another way I have my athletes recover is using bodyweight circuits made up of the fundamental movement patterns. (Push, pull, squat, lunge, hinge). You can also implement light core work.

The important thing to remember when utilizing the aerobic energy system for recovery is to be cognizant of the intensities. Recovery can only occur if the work being performed is done in a 60-75% window of intensity.

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