When you train and play as hard as you do, you need to put into place the right daily prehab and recovery strategies. That’s what’s going to keep you healthy and in the game.
Oftentimes, it’s what you do at home that makes the biggest difference.
In particular, I’m talking about self-myofascial release (self-massage), and corrective stretching and strengthening.
These daily self-care rituals are the key to becoming an athlete for life.
But if you don’t have the right tools on-hand, you won’t be able to follow through. And, if you don’t follow through with the self-care component, you’ll diminish the potential results from your workouts.
That is why I provide a list of self-care tools to buy as one of the first assignments for my new clients. And then I stress the importance of establishing a space at home to access and use those tools with ease.
Now I’m going to share that same list with you so that you too can be prepared and proactive in your recovery. And thus, prevent injury.
Enhance your recovery and performance with these 5 basic self-care tools:
1. Floor matting
A large chunk of your self-care is going to take place on the ground. So it’s important to have a clean, comfortable, designated place to perform.
The thickness of the padding is important. If it’s too thick, the rolling device that you use won’t be able to deliver the depth of pressure that you want or need.
As for the size, you can manage on a traditional yoga mat. But I like to be able to spread out so that I can have freer range to contort my body in whatever way necessary.
To target certain body parts and a certain depth of pressure, you’ll need a range of shapes and sizes. There are two tubular rollers that I like the best for the home.
The compact Rumble Roller has array of knobs that are effective in releasing areas of superficial myofascial tension.
The Vyper Roller has battery powered vibrations that make it the Ferrari of rollers. Those vibrations help to provide efficient and effective relaxation to overactive muscles. This is essential to your ability to recruit underactive muscles in athletic movement.
The next basic shape to have is the ball. But, you’ll need to prepare yourself with a small variety.
A lacrosse ball is an awesome all-purpose ball for most of your muscles that are smaller and closer to the bone. This includes your lower leg, chest, traps, rhomboids, TFL, and posterior hips. But I recommend that beginners start with a tennis ball because it’s softer. It provides relief instead of finding only pain. And because of the small size of either ball, you can take it on-the-go for convenience.
A softball is also great for many of the same areas as the lacrosse ball. As it helps in affecting a larger surface area. You can also use it as a precursor to a lacrosse ball or other more localized tool.
The last basic ball size is that of a golf ball. Rolling out the bottom of your feet before you train or practice is a must to prime your body’s performance.
3. Stretch Strap
This is your personal assistant to help you gain more range of motion in your joints. I prefer to use a strap made of a material that’s firm, instead of elastic. You’ll also want a good length of around nine feet so that you have a diversity in how you use it for your upper or lower body.
I teach my clients to use the belt/strap during Active Isolated Stretching to add ten percent more range of motion. You can also use the strap to provide a stable surface to press against for PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching, or isometric stretching efforts.
4. Resistance Bands
This tool gets a lot of use in any physical rehab setting to aid in corrective strengthening. So it makes sense to have a small variety at home so that you never have an excuse not to do your correctives.
This includes strength exercises to isolate the smaller muscles that support your ankle, hips, and shoulders. That’s because they are prone to breakdown as they try to keep up with the larger global muscles.
A pair of medium resistance hip circles are excellent for a variety of exercises to keep your hips and low back healthy.
5. Door Anchor
Since there are many strap stretches and band exercises that need a stable anchor point, this gadget will make it easier.
It has a small loop that you can thread any stretch strap or a resistance band through. Then you can close a door with the anchor on one side and the loop on the other. And voila!
You can ensure your ability to maintain high quality movement, over the long-term, with the above self-care tools.
With a small investment in these basics, you can get better results from your time and effort.
Of course, you’ll need to use them on a regular basis to become an athlete for life.
To help you even further, I’ve designed a self-care program called Search and Rescue Mobility (a.k.a. SARM). In the coming weeks, I’ll release the first of three modules to get you on the fast track to explosive results.
To learn more and get the latest update, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And until then, subscribe to my YouTube channel to see all the videos I created to guide you on how to get the most out of these tools.
And remember to stay athletic!